The Horn Shark
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The Horn Shark

The Horn shark takes his name from the horn like spines that are located on their backs next to each dorsal fin.

Horn sharks were given their name due to the horn like spines that are located on their backs next to each dorsal fin. They have also been called the Bullhead shark because of their broad heads with ridges above their eyes. The Horn shark looks much like a Spiny Dogfish, except for the shape of their head and the presence of an anal fin.

There are eight different species of Horn shark, most do not reach five feet in length. Some species of Horn shark have venomous spines on their backs. They are found in the Pacific and Indian oceans amongst the sea beds in shallow waters. Horn sharks are extremely slow and clumsy moving and have been know to travel long distances to get to their preferred breeding site, sometimes as far as five hundred miles.

The Horn shark has a very well-developed sense of smell which they use to hunt. Their prey includes Sea Urchins, Shellfish, Starfish, and Oysters. This shark has two different kinds of teeth. The front part of the mouth contains sharp pointed teeth to help catch prey, while the back part contains blunt teeth used to crush the shells of their food. Horn sharks rest on the bottom of the ocean during the day and hunt at night.

This shark is usually not aggressive towards humans. They will only bite when provoked. Due to their slow movement, scuba divers have made the mistake of pulling their tail and teasing them and have been meant by a very pugnacious fish. Horn sharks have been know to chase divers that provoked them. The biggest danger these sharks pose to man is their sharp, sometimes poisonous spines, which can be very painful if touched.

The Horn shark can survive in captivity, and has been maintained and bred in public aquariums around the United States. This shark is hardy enough that if accidentally caught in a fishermen’s trap, they can be released back into the water mostly unharmed and alive. They are hunted for sport, food and for their spines to make jewellery. Thankfully unlike many other sharks, their numbers, though not exactly known, are doing well and their conservation status is “concerned”. Unique, passive and even moderately friendly, the Horn shark does not fit the normal scary image of the shark. As long as you don't pull his tail, they are safe to go for a swim with.

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