More Sharks Ditching Annual Migration As Ocean Warms loading...
More Sharks Ditching Annual Migration As Ocean Warms
Blacktip sharks usually travel in the tens of thousands from North Carolina to Florida. But thanks to climate change, more are staying put.
New Species Of Shark Discovered In Deep Sea loading...
New Species Of Shark Discovered In Deep Sea
The discovery of the Atlantic sixgill shark teaches us more about sharks as a whole, and could help with future conservation efforts.
Whale Allegedly Protects Diver From Shark, But Questions Remain loading...
Whale Allegedly Protects Diver From Shark, But Questions Remain
Video shows what one biologist considers to be altruism, but other scientists remain skeptical.
Tourist Dies In Extremely Rare Shark Attack loading...
Tourist Dies In Extremely Rare Shark Attack
The incident is likely the fifth confirmed, unprovoked shark attack in Costa Rica in the last 400 years.
Snap a Shark Photo and Help Save the Biggest Fish on Earth loading...
Snap a Shark Photo and Help Save the Biggest Fish on Earth
Tourist pictures of endangered whale sharks are helping scientists piece together mysteries of the gentle giant.
Rarely Seen 'Prehistoric' Shark With 300 Teeth Caught loading...
Rarely Seen 'Prehistoric' Shark With 300 Teeth Caught
A rarely seen creature from the deep sea was recently pulled up from the ocean near Portugal.
About Nurse Shark

The scientific name for the nurse shark sounds like something Bilbo Baggins might have said to summon elves to his rescue: Ginglymostoma cirratum. Actually the name is a mix of Greek and Latin and means "curled, hinged mouth" to describe this shark's somewhat puckered appearance.

The origin of the name "nurse shark" is unclear. It may come from the sucking sound they make when hunting for prey in the sand, which vaguely resembles that of a nursing baby. Or it may derive from an archaic word, nusse, meaning cat shark. The most likely theory though is that the name comes from the Old English word for sea-floor shark: hurse.

Fast Facts 

Type: Fish

Diet: Carnivore

Average life span in captivity: Up to 25 years

Size: 7.5 to 9.75 ft (2.2 to 3 m)

Weight: 200 to 330 lbs (90 to 150 kg)

Group name: School or shoal

Did you know? Nurse sharks are nocturnal and will often rest on the sea floor during the day in groups of up to 40 sharks, sometimes piled on top of each other.

Newsletter

Never miss a Nat Geo moment

Your email address
Submit