Shark Tank

The Shark Tank is the largest tank in the aquarium which holds over 56,000 litres (150,000 gallons) of water. It represents deeper areas of coral reef which are home to a variety of sizes of fish and mammals. The shark species that we have here at the aquarium are Sand Tiger Sharks (Carchariaus taurus). They can grow up to 3 metres and weigh between 100-150kg. Despite their rows of ragged teeth and vicious appearance, sand tiger sharks are rather docile sharks. They are found in warm or temperate waters throughout the world’s oceans, except the eastern Pacific. This species has one of the lowest reproduction rates of all sharks and is susceptible to even minimal population pressure. For this reason, it is listed as vulnerable and is protected in much of its range.

Shark Facts

  • Eggs are laid in the form of a “mermaid’s purse”, transparent cases that allow you to see the baby shark inside.
  • Sharks have a very good sense of smell and most have good eye sight.
  • There are over 30 types of shark found in Irish Waters: Porbeagle, Basking, Thresher, Shortfin Mako, Blue, Tope, Six-gilled, Bull Huss, Dogfish, Smooth Hound and Spurdog.
  • In deeper water you might find: Longnose, Velvet Dogfish, Black Dogfish, Velvet Belly, Great Lanternshark, Iceland Catshark, Mouse Catshark and Greenland Shark.
  • Sharks have unfairly earned a reputation as killing machines, eating everything in sight, including humans. Only a few of the 250 species of shark have ever been known to attack man, it is usually a case of mistaken identity – a person on a surfboard looks very much like a seal from a shark’s point of view.
  • These creatures have been on the planet for over 500 million years.
  • They have skeletons made of cartilage instead of bone, the same material we have in our noses and ears.
  • Most sharks swim constantly in order for water to pass over their gills, allowing them to breathe.
  • Shark skin feels like sandpaper, made up of tooth-like structures called dermal denticles.​
  • Sharks have special electroreceptor organs that allow the shark to sense electromagnetic fields and temperature shifts in the ocean. They are called Ampullae of Lorenzini.
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