Let’s Talk About The Cow Shark…
Yup, you heard me, I said cow shark! Of course this is not real!
So, a cow shark hey? And yet there is nothing about this shark that is even closely cow related, no udders, no black and white markings, no “moo” sounds, nothing! In fact, the seven gill cow shark is so different from a cow that understanding why they have been given this name, could prove unsuccessful, but let’s see what we can find.The broad nosed seven gill cow shark is the only one in its family that enjoys the temperate coastal waters and does not hide in the depth as do the rest of the family. The broad nose seven gill is a coastal shark, usually hanging about in water less than 50 m deep, and in bays often less than 1 meter deep. Making these sharks one of the most well documented and studied cow sharks about.This shark grows to approximately 3 meters in length and around 110kg, with a life span of some 50 or so years. This shark boasts a broad head, flat nose, and a single dorsal fin situated far back on the body. They have smaller eyes, larger anal fins and larger bodies than the only other seven gill shark; the sharp nose seven gills cow shark. Also the broad nosed seven gill cow shark has a lower jaw packed with six rows of large teeth! They are well camouflaged from the top with their grey brown colouring and from below with their whiter belly’s, making hunting easier as well as being camouflaged from predators, such as larger sharks, like the Great White Shark and other oceanic mammals such as the Orca or Killer Whale, which feast upon the seven gill cow shark. The diet of these strange sharks includes dolphin, seal, bony fish, rays and even dead matter! Their diet changes according to age and region, and as juveniles, have even proved to be cannibalistic in so far as they will gladly eat the young of other shark species! So really nothing like a cow at all! They are stealthy and opportunistic hunters, sometimes using great bursts of speed and other times ambush attacks suit the situation better. Sometimes they sneak up on their prey and other times they scavenge on already discarded prey from another’s hunt. Their hunting approach is determined by the age and of course the size of the intended prey. Their teeth are perfect for the grabbing of moving prey, so I’d say, despite their almost dopy appearance, quite the apt hunter! But still, nothing here that makes me see the logic in the “cow shark” name, how about you?
Give it some thought, and I’ll be back with more insights into the broad nosed seven gill cow shark!
Till we meet again, keep that toothy grin!
By Nadine Bentley