A pair of the world’s ‘cutest’ sharks arrive to take up residence in Weymouth this week.
They are two bonnethead sharks – members of the hammerhead family – and they will be introduced to the mighty ocean tank at Weymouth Sea Life Park this Thursday.
The word ‘cute’ is not an adjective normally associated with one of the marine world’s deadliest predators…and Sea Life staff think their new arrivals will prompt visitors to see sharks in a different light.
“Unfortunately a lot of people still consider all sharks to be mindless man-eaters,” said marine expert Fiona Smith.
“In fact fewer than half-a-dozen of the 370-plus species around the world are dangerous to humans, and even with those few, attacks on people are generally a case of mistaken identity.
“The 1 metre-long bonnetheads are such beautiful and harmless looking creatures we’re hoping they make people think again, which is important if shark conservation measures are ever to receive the support they so desperately need.”
The smallest member of the hammerhead family, bonnetheads come from the Gulf of Mexico and Brazilian coast, where they patrol the seabed swinging their flat heads from side to side like metal detectors.
Instead of metal, they detect the tiny electrical pulses given off by the buried crabs, molluscs and small fish that they prey on.
The pair are the Parks main feature for 2011 and will give customers the opportunity to see sharks never housed at the Park before.