Loro Parque is very happy to welcome the newest family member. The best zoo in Europe and the second best in the world, according to Trip Advisor, welcomes Udra, the first baby zebra shark (Stegostoma fasciatum) who was born in the Park. She is a female baby of 72 grams and 27 centimeters and is in perfect health.
This is a wonderful success of the professional team of the Aquarium, who performed an egg cesarean to ensure that the baby zebra shark could born without any difficulty. If she had born in the sea, and her mother being first-time mother, as the first hatching eggs she would have probably faced difficulties at birth. From her birth on October 24, the animal continues to develop well, and she currently feeds on small pieces of prawn, mussels, hake and squid. The amount she receives does not exceed 4% of its body weight.
Her parents, Marylin and Elvis, live with another pair of zebra shark in the aquarium, so now one more member is joining this wonderful family of sharks. These animals can measure up to three and a half meters, and they have a cream-colored body with dark spots, what allow them to pass by unnoticed when they rest on the sandy bottoms of the sea.
They have a broad, flattened head, and a ventral mouth with which they can dig at the bottom of the sea and look for small animals. Their tail is almost half of the total length, and they have powerful lateral muscles. The common name of these animals is due to the stripes they have when they are young, which later turn into spots when they are adults.
It is a slow but slippery swimmer. This shark does not chase his preys, he just drives them into small spaces and uses its great and flexible body in order to make them unable to escape. Its jaw is in the ventral part of its head, and has also the special ability of being retractable inward allowing the shark to be more aerodynamic. Although the ability with its jaw allows the shark to swim faster, he is still a slow animal, but that extra speed can be vital when escaping from predators, and during prey hunting.
The breeding and reproduction of zebra sharks is essential to provide more information on how to conserve and guarantee the well-being of endangered species such as angelsharks (Squalma squatima) which is the world’s most threatened specie, and the hammerhead shark (Sphyrna sp.), whom Loro Park Foundation helps through protection projects.