What causes sharks to have crooked spines?

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Earthtouchnews has an article describing a bull shark with a crooked spine. That shark was found by the shark lab in Bimini. They named him “Quasimido” and are speculating on what caused that deformity.

The Bimini Shark Lab team secures “Quasimodo” for workup (a short checkup that includes taking various measurements of the animal). Image: Chelle Blais/Bimini Biological Field Station

Sarah Keartes writes: “Dr. Natalie D. Mylniczenko, a veterinarian who has spent time with the Shark Lab beforepresented several possible explanations for the bull shark’s strange skeleton. It’s possible that a deep abscess, granuloma, or slow-growing cancer is to blame – but Quasimodo’s overall state seems to suggest otherwise. If disease were at the root of the deformity, we would expect to see at least some abnormal behaviour. The more likely culprit, according to Mylniczenko, is either a congenital or traumatic incident. In either case, this would have occurred when the shark was very young, and over time, his body would have compensated and healed in a skewed position.”

Read the full story here: https://www.earthtouchnews.com/oceans/sharks/meet-quasimodo-the-bull-shark-with-a-very-crooked-spine/
 

Image: Chelle Blais/Bimini Biological Field Station


This Bull Shark is not the only shark with a deformed spine. At Guadalupe Island, we have our own Great White Shark with the same deformation. When we first met her a couple of years ago, I nicknamed her “Kinky” because of the very distinct kink in her tail. I have no idea what caused that kink, since she doesn’t have any obvious scars or signs of injury. She was named “Screaming Mimi” by someone through the “Sponsor a shark” program of the Marine Conservation Science Institute. That sponsor program, is one of the ways they raise funds for the Photo ID database at Guadalupe Island.
 

“Screaming Mimi”


Just like the “Quasimodo” in Bimini who was seen swimming around a couple of weeks after the people from the Shark Lab examined it, “Screaming Mimi” also seems to be doing well and has been very active around our cages at Guadalupe Island.


If you want to meet “Screaming Mimi”, or any of our other sharks at Guadalupe, contact us at 619.887.4275, crew@sharkdiver.com or www.sharkdiver.com

Let’s go shark diving!

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver
 
About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com.

I was surrounded by bull sharks!

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I just got back from my 4th annual trip to Fiji, diving with the “BAD” (Beqa Adventure Divers’) bull sharks of the Shark Reef Marine Reserve. It is an unbelievable experience to be surrounded by lots of these awesome predators.

We saw a shark or two

What really fascinates me is not the sheer number of sharks though.  The really interesting part is that I’m starting to recognize some individual sharks, not only by distinctive marks on them, but by their behavior.

Doing a lap, showing everyone that she got a tuna head.


Anyone thinking that “a bull shark is a bull shark” should come to this place and see for themselves. These sharks have very different “personalities”, some very mellow and cautious, others not so much. Of course you need to do more than just one or 2 dives to notice these differences. The first few dives your are simply going to be blown away by the sheer number of sharks and and by how close they’ll get to you.

Up close and personal!

Common wisdom holds that when it comes to sharks, size matters. The big shark always wins over a smaller shark. What I found is that this is not always the case. Some sharks think they are a lot bigger than they really are and compete with the bigger sharks for the tuna heads on offer. “Top Sail” for example is not one of the bigger sharks, but is very adept at getting more than her fair share of tuna heads.

Top sail getting a tuna head.

Another thing that totally surprised me is how cautious these sharks are, even when food is offered to them. Some sharks will not approach the feeder who’s holding a tuna head and some sharks will only take a tuna head from a specific feeder. I would have thought that these bull sharks would pretty much go for any tuna head that is offered to them.

If all the bull sharks are not enough for you, just when you think the dive is over, there is the safety stop. Far from a boring hanging on to a line, waiting for the 3 minutes to pass, you are face to face wit a bunch of hungry white- and black-tip sharks, being fed by one of the divemasters.

I’m still very partial to “my” white sharks at Guadalupe, but I’m getting more and more taken by the bull sharks of the SRMR and can’t wait for next year.

Sam face to face with a hungry white tip shark.

Thanks to all the guys at “BAD”, (Beqa Adventure Divers) for your hospitality and another unforgettable trip. You are simply the best! Vinaka vakalevu!

Blacktip shark at the safety stop

In the coming weeks we’ll be posting a special offer for next year’s Fiji trip. My descriptions and pictures don’t do these sharks justice. You’ll have to come and experience them yourself.

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com.

I was surrounded by bull sharks!

Instagram 
I just got back from my 4th annual trip to Fiji, diving with the “BAD” (Beqa Adventure Divers’) bull sharks of the Shark Reef Marine Reserve. It is an unbelievable experience to be surrounded by lots of these awesome predators.

We saw a shark or two

What really fascinates me is not the sheer number of sharks though.  The really interesting part is that I’m starting to recognize some individual sharks, not only by distinctive marks on them, but by their behavior.

Doing a lap, showing everyone that she got a tuna head.


Anyone thinking that “a bull shark is a bull shark” should come to this place and see for themselves. These sharks have very different “personalities”, some very mellow and cautious, others not so much. Of course you need to do more than just one or 2 dives to notice these differences. The first few dives your are simply going to be blown away by the sheer number of sharks and and by how close they’ll get to you.

Up close and personal!

Common wisdom holds that when it comes to sharks, size matters. The big shark always wins over a smaller shark. What I found is that this is not always the case. Some sharks think they are a lot bigger than they really are and compete with the bigger sharks for the tuna heads on offer. “Top Sail” for example is not one of the bigger sharks, but is very adept at getting more than her fair share of tuna heads.

Top sail getting a tuna head.

Another thing that totally surprised me is how cautious these sharks are, even when food is offered to them. Some sharks will not approach the feeder who’s holding a tuna head and some sharks will only take a tuna head from a specific feeder. I would have thought that these bull sharks would pretty much go for any tuna head that is offered to them.

If all the bull sharks are not enough for you, just when you think the dive is over, there is the safety stop. Far from a boring hanging on to a line, waiting for the 3 minutes to pass, you are face to face wit a bunch of hungry white- and black-tip sharks, being fed by one of the divemasters.

I’m still very partial to “my” white sharks at Guadalupe, but I’m getting more and more taken by the bull sharks of the SRMR and can’t wait for next year.

Sam face to face with a hungry white tip shark.

Thanks to all the guys at “BAD”, (Beqa Adventure Divers) for your hospitality and another unforgettable trip. You are simply the best! Vinaka vakalevu!

Blacktip shark at the safety stop

In the coming weeks we’ll be posting a special offer for next year’s Fiji trip. My descriptions and pictures don’t do these sharks justice. You’ll have to come and experience them yourself.

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com.

I was surrounded by bull sharks!

Instagram 
I just got back from my 4th annual trip to Fiji, diving with the “BAD” (Beqa Adventure Divers’) bull sharks of the Shark Reef Marine Reserve. It is an unbelievable experience to be surrounded by lots of these awesome predators.

We saw a shark or two

What really fascinates me is not the sheer number of sharks though.  The really interesting part is that I’m starting to recognize some individual sharks, not only by distinctive marks on them, but by their behavior.

Doing a lap, showing everyone that she got a tuna head.


Anyone thinking that “a bull shark is a bull shark” should come to this place and see for themselves. These sharks have very different “personalities”, some very mellow and cautious, others not so much. Of course you need to do more than just one or 2 dives to notice these differences. The first few dives your are simply going to be blown away by the sheer number of sharks and and by how close they’ll get to you.

Up close and personal!

Common wisdom holds that when it comes to sharks, size matters. The big shark always wins over a smaller shark. What I found is that this is not always the case. Some sharks think they are a lot bigger than they really are and compete with the bigger sharks for the tuna heads on offer. “Top Sail” for example is not one of the bigger sharks, but is very adept at getting more than her fair share of tuna heads.

Top sail getting a tuna head.

Another thing that totally surprised me is how cautious these sharks are, even when food is offered to them. Some sharks will not approach the feeder who’s holding a tuna head and some sharks will only take a tuna head from a specific feeder. I would have thought that these bull sharks would pretty much go for any tuna head that is offered to them.

If all the bull sharks are not enough for you, just when you think the dive is over, there is the safety stop. Far from a boring hanging on to a line, waiting for the 3 minutes to pass, you are face to face wit a bunch of hungry white- and black-tip sharks, being fed by one of the divemasters.

I’m still very partial to “my” white sharks at Guadalupe, but I’m getting more and more taken by the bull sharks of the SRMR and can’t wait for next year.

Sam face to face with a hungry white tip shark.

Thanks to all the guys at “BAD”, (Beqa Adventure Divers) for your hospitality and another unforgettable trip. You are simply the best! Vinaka vakalevu!

Blacktip shark at the safety stop

In the coming weeks we’ll be posting a special offer for next year’s Fiji trip. My descriptions and pictures don’t do these sharks justice. You’ll have to come and experience them yourself.

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com.

I was surrounded by bull sharks!

Instagram 
I just got back from my 4th annual trip to Fiji, diving with the “BAD” (Beqa Adventure Divers’) bull sharks of the Shark Reef Marine Reserve. It is an unbelievable experience to be surrounded by lots of these awesome predators.

We saw a shark or two

What really fascinates me is not the sheer number of sharks though.  The really interesting part is that I’m starting to recognize some individual sharks, not only by distinctive marks on them, but by their behavior.

Doing a lap, showing everyone that she got a tuna head.


Anyone thinking that “a bull shark is a bull shark” should come to this place and see for themselves. These sharks have very different “personalities”, some very mellow and cautious, others not so much. Of course you need to do more than just one or 2 dives to notice these differences. The first few dives your are simply going to be blown away by the sheer number of sharks and and by how close they’ll get to you.

Up close and personal!

Common wisdom holds that when it comes to sharks, size matters. The big shark always wins over a smaller shark. What I found is that this is not always the case. Some sharks think they are a lot bigger than they really are and compete with the bigger sharks for the tuna heads on offer. “Top Sail” for example is not one of the bigger sharks, but is very adept at getting more than her fair share of tuna heads.

Top sail getting a tuna head.

Another thing that totally surprised me is how cautious these sharks are, even when food is offered to them. Some sharks will not approach the feeder who’s holding a tuna head and some sharks will only take a tuna head from a specific feeder. I would have thought that these bull sharks would pretty much go for any tuna head that is offered to them.

If all the bull sharks are not enough for you, just when you think the dive is over, there is the safety stop. Far from a boring hanging on to a line, waiting for the 3 minutes to pass, you are face to face wit a bunch of hungry white- and black-tip sharks, being fed by one of the divemasters.

I’m still very partial to “my” white sharks at Guadalupe, but I’m getting more and more taken by the bull sharks of the SRMR and can’t wait for next year.

Sam face to face with a hungry white tip shark.

Thanks to all the guys at “BAD”, (Beqa Adventure Divers) for your hospitality and another unforgettable trip. You are simply the best! Vinaka vakalevu!

Blacktip shark at the safety stop

In the coming weeks we’ll be posting a special offer for next year’s Fiji trip. My descriptions and pictures don’t do these sharks justice. You’ll have to come and experience them yourself.

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com.

Who is more aggressive, a Bull Shark or a Great White?

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We hear a lot about how aggressive shark are. Some people think that if they encounter a shark in the ocean, they will get bit. This kind of thinking is at least partially fueled by the media that seems to portray any encounter with a shark as a near death experience.

I’ve been diving with Great White, Bull and Tiger Sharks for over 15 years now and have found that most sharks are actually pretty shy and not very aggressive. Despite the fact that shark bites and attacks are extremely rare, the common perception is that they are dangerous. When it comes to what species is most dangerous, people tell me that because they have more testosterone than any other shark, Bull Sharks are the most aggressive and therefore the most dangerous to humans.

It is true, that since Bull Sharks can swim and hunt in very shallow, brackish and even fresh water, they tend to be in much closer proximity to humans than Tiger or Great White Sharks. This obviously leads to a greater chance of an encounter with them, which can result in an occasional bite or attack. Such bites however remain extremely rare. Last year there were 96 shark bites with 6 fatalities reported worldwide. These numbers include all species of shark.

I think that a lot of people confuse feeding with aggression. Biting that is related to hunting or feeding has nothing to do with the testosterone level, but is simply and indication that the shark is hungry. Aggression has to do with defending their territory, establishing dominance and is usually directed toward another shark or a perceived competitor. So if we look at it that way, who is more aggressive, the Bull Shark, or the Great White Shark?

Well, let me show you a couple of pictures.

These pictures all show Great White Sharks with bite marks from their own kind. It is rare to see an adult Great White Shark that doesn’t have some kind of scar or fresh bite mark on them. These sharks are very much into keeping their “personal space” and it is rare for them to touch each other, without there being some biting involved. Typically when 2 White Sharks encounter each other, they pass each other head on, to establish who is bigger. If that doesn’t settle it, they tend to come back together and swim parallel with each other, to get a closer look. Now if that still doesn’t settle it, the more dominant sharks usually shows the other who’s boss by biting it on the head or in the gill area.

Now I want to stress that the aggression I have observed on White Sharks is shown towards other shark and not humans, or other animals in the ocean. Just like any other “dangerous” shark, they are not very likely to attack a human.

Add caption
2 of these sharks just got a tuna head, they show no aggression.

In the pictures above, you can see lot’s of Bull Sharks swimming very close together and there doesn’t seem to be any aggression. I’ve seen over 70 of those sharks, without noticing any that had bite marks on them. This is something that definitely can’t be said about Great Whites.

It never ceases to amaze me, how little we know about sharks and how much of what we “know” is actually wrong. We tend to think that something like testosterone will have the same effect in sharks as it does in humans. On the flip side of the “sharks are mindless killer” attitude, there is the “sharks want to be hugged” crowd, that is trying to show how harmless these sharks are by riding, grabbing, flipping and hugging them.

Let’s appreciate the sharks for who and what they are. They are not mindless killers, but neither are they harmless pets. As I always say, “I absolutely love “my” sharks, but it is not a mutual feeling and that is perfectly fine with me”. I don’t feel the need to assign human emotions to them, I love em just they way they are.

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com.

Who is more aggressive, a Bull Shark or a Great White?

Instagram 
We hear a lot about how aggressive shark are. Some people think that if they encounter a shark in the ocean, they will get bit. This kind of thinking is at least partially fueled by the media that seems to portray any encounter with a shark as a near death experience.

I’ve been diving with Great White, Bull and Tiger Sharks for over 15 years now and have found that most sharks are actually pretty shy and not very aggressive. Despite the fact that shark bites and attacks are extremely rare, the common perception is that they are dangerous. When it comes to what species is most dangerous, people tell me that because they have more testosterone than any other shark, Bull Sharks are the most aggressive and therefore the most dangerous to humans.

It is true, that since Bull Sharks can swim and hunt in very shallow, brackish and even fresh water, they tend to be in much closer proximity to humans than Tiger or Great White Sharks. This obviously leads to a greater chance of an encounter with them, which can result in an occasional bite or attack. Such bites however remain extremely rare. Last year there were 96 shark bites with 6 fatalities reported worldwide. These numbers include all species of shark.

I think that a lot of people confuse feeding with aggression. Biting that is related to hunting or feeding has nothing to do with the testosterone level, but is simply and indication that the shark is hungry. Aggression has to do with defending their territory, establishing dominance and is usually directed toward another shark or a perceived competitor. So if we look at it that way, who is more aggressive, the Bull Shark, or the Great White Shark?

Well, let me show you a couple of pictures.

These pictures all show Great White Sharks with bite marks from their own kind. It is rare to see an adult Great White Shark that doesn’t have some kind of scar or fresh bite mark on them. These sharks are very much into keeping their “personal space” and it is rare for them to touch each other, without there being some biting involved. Typically when 2 White Sharks encounter each other, they pass each other head on, to establish who is bigger. If that doesn’t settle it, they tend to come back together and swim parallel with each other, to get a closer look. Now if that still doesn’t settle it, the more dominant sharks usually shows the other who’s boss by biting it on the head or in the gill area.

Now I want to stress that the aggression I have observed on White Sharks is shown towards other shark and not humans, or other animals in the ocean. Just like any other “dangerous” shark, they are not very likely to attack a human.

Add caption
2 of these sharks just got a tuna head, they show no aggression.

In the pictures above, you can see lot’s of Bull Sharks swimming very close together and there doesn’t seem to be any aggression. I’ve seen over 70 of those sharks, without noticing any that had bite marks on them. This is something that definitely can’t be said about Great Whites.

It never ceases to amaze me, how little we know about sharks and how much of what we “know” is actually wrong. We tend to think that something like testosterone will have the same effect in sharks as it does in humans. On the flip side of the “sharks are mindless killer” attitude, there is the “sharks want to be hugged” crowd, that is trying to show how harmless these sharks are by riding, grabbing, flipping and hugging them.

Let’s appreciate the sharks for who and what they are. They are not mindless killers, but neither are they harmless pets. As I always say, “I absolutely love “my” sharks, but it is not a mutual feeling and that is perfectly fine with me”. I don’t feel the need to assign human emotions to them, I love em just they way they are.

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com.

Dead Sharks, Selfies, and Shark Fin Soup?

What is our obsession with taking pictures of ourselves with subjects that seem just a bit inappropriate? Now that smart phones have turned us all into photog wannabes, the rush to get pictures published on social media sites has also lead us to be wannabe reporters, as well.  Recently two sharks, a bull and a hammerhead, washed up dead on the shore of Miami Beach. One was bloated, the other with its fin cut off.  Once beach-combers saw the poor creatures, the camera phones came out and the snap-shot taking crowds were enough to make any paparazzi, surrounding a Hollywood celebrity, pale in comparison.  There was even a grown adult who pulled up on the head of one shark to get its mouth to open. What a photo op! “Hey kids, come gather around!”

Where is the respect? It’s just an animal. Who cares, right? WRONG! Are we another ‘Me Generation’ or have we never left it?  This is 2015 folks.  We’ve scratched our way out to escape the errors of our ways. After fighting for equality in several different arenas, freedom of religion, the push to reuse, reduce and recycle, ‘save our planet,’ ‘plant a tree’…have we not arrived? What has happened to the rights and respect for those with which we share this slowly, dying planet?

http://cdn.inquisitr.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Bull-Shark-670.jpg
Source: Inquisitr.com

Back to these dead sharks: No one knows what caused their deaths, and apparently no one is investigating.  A fin was cut off! I was told by an authority at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission that maybe if there was a bunch of these guys washing up on the shore with their fins hacked, there might then be an investigation. How many have to lose their lives in order for that to happen? Maybe this is just a prelude of what is to come. Since shark fin soup is served in restaurants throughout Florida, and yes, Miami, maybe this was the result of someone trying to cash in on the evil craze. Does that mean finless carcasses are on their way to shore like a message in a bottle? Are we going to read it and do something about it or are we going to throw it back in for the next generation to deal with? Did you know that 24 states according to the Animal Welfare Institute, serve up the controversial delicacy, shark fin soup?  You can find it on the menu at South Garden Chinese Restaurant in Miami for $12 a bowl.

Source 

It’s a shame; it’s a crying shame that an 8 foot animal is tortured for its 8 inch body part and left to die, rotting in its ocean home, only to float to the shore to be mocked as part of social media fodder. To the person(s) who did this: “At least, eat the rest!” I discourage anyone from killing these animals and it pains me to see their fins cut off and then the shark dropped back in the water to try and survive. Would the same thoughtless individual do that to their pet? They’d be put in jail.

These sharks are intelligent, beautiful, and are an integral part of our oceans and were here way before you and I. Respect them. Wouldn’t a picture of you with a live shark be cooler to take?

Join us for live shark selfie-taking starting this August at Guadalupe; Bahamas starting in April and Fiji year-round.

Let’s go shark diving!
‘Ocean’
Shark Diver

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com.