Sharks in the Caribbean

Back in 1876 a new species of shark was seen off the coast of Cuba, it was the first Reef Shark to be described in history. This shark is the most common found around the Caribbean reefs, although it can be found as far south as the coasts of Brazil

Back in 1876 a new species of shark was seen off the coast of Cuba, it was the first Reef Shark to be described in history. This shark is the most common found around the Caribbean reefs, although it can be found as far south as the coasts of Brazil and Uruguay, its population is really abundant around the Bahamas and the Lesser Antilles, and it is rare above Florida.

The Reef Shark displays one of the most surprising behaviors of its class: it can stay still for hours in the bottom of the sea. This behavior can be performed because the shark stops where the stream is strong and constant, thus making him “breath” without effort. In such state the shark goes into a kind of lethargy that gives name to a famous dive site off the coast of Quintana Roo: the Sleeping Sharks Cave.

They belong to the family where Tiger Shark, Blue Shark, Bull Shark and Milk Shark are. Reef Sharks are of a brownish gray color on top and whitish gray color below and they reach up to 9 feet long. They feed on fish mainly and they are extremely skillful at detecting them, they are particularly sharp at receiving low frequency sounds.

The sharks are viviparous, meaning that they give birth to living sharks that were gestated in the mother by a placentary connection, very similar to that of the mammals. During birth period females produce a hormone that somehow keeps her from the hunger, thus avoiding eating her babies. Sharks in general do not show any parental behavior, babies must be able to be on their own once they are born.

Reef Sharks, just as any other kind of shark, do not attack humans by instinct. A man is prone to be attacked only if the shark feels cornered. No human attacks by Reef Sharks have been reported; anyhow it is advisable to act quiet and away in their presence.

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