Let’s Talk About It…Bronze Whaler Shark

 

Proudly found in the waters of False Bay, South Africa amongst other regions, where the waters are above 12 degrees Celsius, the Bronze Whaler Shark is also known by Copper Shark, or Narrowtooth Shark. Why the “Bronze Whaler” perhaps it’s because it has a bronze ridge between its dorsal fins, ‘cos other than that, it really doesn’t have much in the way of distinguishing marks. Why “Narrowtooth”, perhaps it has something to do with the fact that they have narrow, hook shaped teeth. “Copper Shark”, because out of the water, it has a sandy copper hue to its flesh, sometimes it looks a little like a dark gold as the sun catches it.bronze-whaler

Though not predatory towards humans, this 3.3 meter shark can get a little excited when eating its diet of small bony fish, cartilaginous fish and other cephalopods. Though not an overly aggressive predator, even when chowing down, it has been known to eat smaller sharks as well as rays on a frequent basis. It is suggested though, to avoid the area in which the Bronze Whaler is dining.

This fascinating creature, prefers larger groups, for hunting and protection, as opposed to the solitary Great White, and though enjoys deeper waters off of the South African, New Zealand and Australia coasts, if you find yourself in offshore island coastlines, inlet waterways and man-made harbours, you may just run into a Bronze Whaler.

As adults, they are not typically found in shallow waters, certainly nothing less than 100 feet, though the younger juveniles will hang about in waters of about 30 or so feet until they mature to adulthood, which usually takes between 13 and 19 years! Adulthood is reached once the Bronze Whaler reaches at least 7 feet, keeping in mind they grow to an average of 11 feet in length during their 25 to 30 year lifespan.bronze whaler shark

Sadly, though there has only been one recorded fatal attack by a Bronze Whaler on a human, this shark is on the endangered list! The only time the Bronze Whaler attacks humans, is when it feels its prey is being taken away, so there have been claims that the shark have attacked spear fishermen, while they had fish on the end of their spears.

ASEC may not dive with these beautiful Bronze Whalers, but we do dive with the Great Whites of False Bay, you should join us.

Till we meet again, keep that toothy grin!

Grinning shark

By Nadine Bentley