The Ragged Tooth Shark has various names, such as the Gray Tooth Shark, Spotted Ragged Tooth Shark, and the Sand Tiger Shark, There is no denying that these sharks can look terrifying, yet they are actually very social and placid species of shark.
The Ragged Tooth Shark will only attack when they have been provoked or cornered.
As this species of shark is very slow moving and looks scary, they make the ideal aquarium shark. Therefore, you’ll likely see these species of shark all over the world in man made aquariums.
In this article, we will be finding out some of the most fascinating facts about the scariest shark in the world -the Ragged Tooth Shark!
Appearance Of The Ragged Tooth Shark
It is known that the Ragged Tooth Shark can grow between 6.6 and 10.5 feet long. Yet they are very heavy creatures who can weigh around 201 to 351 pounds.
On a Ragged Tooth Shark, you will notice that the head isn’t round, but instead it is pointed. In addition to that, the nose of the shark is flattened, and these sharks have tiny and lidless eyes.
With male Ragged Tooth Sharks, they will have white topped and gray claspers that will be found on the lower sides of their bodies.
Then, they have the caudal fin, which is extended due to the long upper lobe. Two other larger gray dorsal finds that have a wide base are found behind the pectoral fins.
With adult, Ragged Tooth Sharks, they have red to brown specks that stand out against their all gray bodies. These specks are only seen on the upper half of their bodies, and their undersides are usually a lighter gray color.
An albino Ragged Tooth Shark was documented in August 2007, in Australia near the South west rocks.
Generally, these sharks don’t have transverse serrated teeth, which is commonly seen with a lot of species of sharks.
As a result, Ragged Tooth Sharks have much more smooth and larger teeth. Their upper teeth are separated due to smaller teeth.
Is The Ragged Tooth Shark Buoyant?
The large majority of sharks are able to be buoyant due to the large amounts of oil that is present in their livers. This oil, herpes, reduces the overall density of the shark and the water they are swimming in.
Although, with a Ragged Tooth Shark, they are known for swallowing oxygen. This air is then kept in their stomachs, which helps prevent these sharks from sinking to the bottom of the ocean or rolling over.
Habitats Of The Ragged Tooth Shark
You can find Ragged Tooth Sharks in all the major oceans in the world, including the Indian, Atlantic, and Pacific Ocean. In addition to that, you can see these species of shark in the Mediterranean Sea.
It is known that these sharks like reefs and shallow coastlines. However, sometimes, they can be seen enjoying much deeper waters.
Hence, this species of shark likes to roam in the upper levels of water and up to 650 feet deep. Therefore, these sharks like coastal and sandy waters, shallow bays, tropical or rocky coral reefs and estuaries.
It has been reported that in the Western Atlantic Ocean, you can see the Ragged Tooth Shark found in the coastal waters between Florida and the Gulf of Maine.
Alongside that, they have been known to make an appearance in Mexico, Bermuda, Northern Argentina, a Bahama and Southern Brazil.
When it comes to the Eastern Atlantic Ocean, these sharks have also made an appearance there too. You can spot these sharks from the Canary Islands to the Mediterranean Sea.
Also, you can see them along the coasts of Ghana and Senegal and Cameroon to southern Nigeria.
If you happen to be in the Western Pacific Ocean, then you may be able to witness this shark in the coastlines of Australia or Happen.
However, these scars won’t go near New Zealand. Therefore, you may have more of a chance of seeing these hairs in the Western Indian Ocean.
Some Ragged Tooth Sharks have been seen in eastern areas of India, South Africa and southern Mozambique.
Behavioral Characteristics Of A Ragged Tooth Shark
It will be difficult to see a Ragged Tooth Shark during the day, as they are nocturnal animals. Therefore, these sharks spend their days hiding in caves, ignoring everyone.
During the day, these sharks are conserving all their energy, so that they can hunt efficiently at night.
As mentioned above, these sharks like to stay in shallow water. In addition to that, you will see these sharks breathing in air to help give them more buoyancy. This air helps them to hunt silently.
Diet Of The Ragged Tooth Shark
The majority of what the Ragged Tooth Shark eats come from the sea floor. This is also referred to as demersal prey. This food is a mixture of teleosts, which are a kind of bony fish.
These kinds of fish make up around 60% of the Ragged Tooth Shark’s diet. The rest of their diet is made up of much larger prey like rays and smaller sharks, such as the Smooth-hound Shark.
These sharks can easily catch a large variety of fish and prey to consume as part of their diet. Making them very effective hunters.
Mating Habits Of Ragged Tooth Sharks
When it comes to these sharks mating, the female will usually hover above a sandy ocean floor. In addition to that, there will tend to be more than one male nearby and after her affections.
A more dominant male shark will try to intimidate the other male sharks with an aggressive look. They will also force the other sharks away by following their tails and force them to swim away.
The dominion male will scare any other species away, not just other sharks. They will bite smaller sharks and fish to scare them all away.
After that, the dominant male will approach the female shark, and they will both look after the sandy ocean floor. This sandy ocean floor is where the male and female interact with one another.
The male will usually show interest in the female by a superficial bite on her pectoral and anal fins. The female will return the interest in giving the male shallow bites all over his body.
This kind of behavior will continue for a few days until the female shark has become fully submissive.
Once the female is submissive, then both sharks will begin to roll together until the claspers on the male shark enters the female shark’s cloaca.
This can be quite an aggressive and brutal act to watch. Due to the male shark known to bite the base of the female shark’s pectoral fin on her right side.
This is then known to possibly leave scars and wounds on the female shark’s body.
The mating act between a male and female shark only lasts a couple of minutes. Then the sharks will separate, and the male will swim away.
It is said that a female shark will only mate every 2 to 3 years. Near the end of the mating season, there have been reports of mainly female sharks along the coasts.
How Do Ragged Tooth Sharks Reproduce?
Ragged Tooth Sharks will benign or mate during August to December. These sharks are said to be ovoviviparous, which means that their eggs are fertilized and hatch inside the female shark’s body.
The pups will then continue to live and grow inside their mother, until they are strong and big enough to be born alive.
While the pups are still inside their mother, the female shark will keep producing unfertilized eggs for the pups to feed on. However, this does make them cannibalistic.
Usually, only two pups are ever born, as the female Ragged Tooth Sharks has two uteri. Once born, a pup will usually already be around 100 cm in length.
Do Ragged Tooth Sharks Migrate?
You are more likely to see these sharks on the eastern and southern coast of South Africa.
During November and December, you will see the haters begin to mate in the coral reefs of Kwazulu Natal and Eastern Cape.
Then you will find that these sharks will swim into warmer waters to breed, and then return to the cooler waters of the Cape when they are ready to give birth.
The Teeth Of A Ragged Tooth Shark
These sharks get their name due to their interesting looking teeth. These teeth look more like needles due to being long and pointy.
Furthermore, their teeth allow the sharks to capture their prey and swallow them in one bite.
Some Ragged Tooth Shark’s favorite foods included rays, other sharks, bony fish, squid and crustaceans.
Are Ragged Tooth Sharks Endangered?
The Ragged Tooth Shark is considered an endangered species all around the world, because they mature sexually really slowly. IN addition to that, they produce very small litters, and are considered vulnerable due to overfishing.
This species of sharks have dropped in their numbers due to overfishing. In addition, they became the first ever species of shark to be protected.
They are now protected in America and also cannot be sold in South Africa without a permit.
The Ragged Tooth Shark is a scary looking shark, yet they are very docile creatures. The species of shark is now protected in lots of countries to help encourage the species numbers to grow once again.
You can find these sharks in the majority of oceans in the world.
We hope this article has been informative, and you have learned some fascinating facts about the Ragged Tooth Shark,