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Also known as:

Tawny nurse shark

Sleepy shark

Spitting shark

Common Group Name:

Sharks

Family Name:

Ginglymostomatidae

Genus Name:

Nebrius

Species Name:

Nebrius ferrugineus


Dispatch Method:

Beware of the sharp teeth of sharks when handling them. The eating qualities of tawny sharks less than 100 cm (3.5 feet) long can be improved by killing them humanely by iki jime or a firm knock to the head before placing them in an ice slurry after bleeding. Tawny sharks larger than 100 cm long should be dispatched with a captive bolt tool or firearm (with appropriate safety precautions).


Fish Description:

  • A bulky, medium sized nurse shark, with a tan brown body, small eyes and broad snout with short nasal barbels.
  • Tawny sharks feed mainly on benthic invertebrates including crustaceans and molluscs.
  • Females mature at around 230-250 cm/ 8 feet long, and produce litters of up to 8 young annually (though embryos in large litters are cannibalised by others in-utero).
  • This species is docile, though may attack if provoked.

Fish Distribution:

  • Tawny sharks occur throughout tropical and warm temperate waters of the Indo-Pacific region from east Africa to northern Australia, Japan and the Tuamoto Islands.
  • They frequent continental shelfs to depths of around 70 meters (250 feet), coral and rocky reef edges as well as the sandy bottoms of lagoons.
  • This species is mostly nocturnal, and during the day is mainly found in crevices and caves, sometimes forming resting aggregations, and often seen piled across or on top of one another.

Fish Size Common Length:

Common between 210 and 280 cm (7-9 feet) long, maximum size around 330 cm (11 feet) long and 200+ kg (450 pounds).