It may have sounded like the animal kingdom’s version of the movie, “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner,” but everything was peaceful on Wednesday, August 1, 2012, when marine biologists at San Francisco’s California Academy of Sciences, began to introduce six striped Pyjama Sharks into the popular African Penguin exhibit.
The docile, normally shy Pyjama Sharks had no intention of making a meal of their new neighbors. The cave dwelling sharks, also known as Striped Catsharks, and the gregarious penguins, actually share a common habit in the wild oceans off the coast of South Africa. The night feeding sharks grow to a little over three feet long and should get along just fine with their 5 to 10 pound penguin neighbors.
The initial introductions went off without a hitch. The two year old pyjama sharks were bred in captivity at a Lisbon, Portugal aquarium and they were introduced to the exhibit in pairs. The normally curious penguins reacted enthusiastically, as reported by the aquarium’s biologists: “During yesterday’s event, the sharks were let into the tank two at a time, which piqued the interest of the penguins. The penguins reacted with curiosity, some diving into the water to get a closer look at and feel for their new neighbors. Overall, the penguins reacted quite positively.”
When the sharks need a break from all the attention, they will be able to relax in the custom built, underwater caves the biologists added to the exhibit. Of course, it wouldn’t be much fun for visitors to arrive expecting to see sharks and penguins cavorting about the carefully designed reproduction of Boulders Beach in South Africa, only to find out that the sharks were hiding. In order to encourage the sharks to spend more time in the open water, where they can show off their beautiful stripes, biologists spent several months training the sharks to come to the surface to feed.
Happily, the biologist’s hard work is already showing results. After the sharks were all introduced to the exhibit, they swam in a group up to the glass window of the aquarium tank and posed for some pictures, before disappearing into their caves for a much needed rest. The penguins, also called “Jackass Penguins,” for their distinctive call, simply Hee Hawed and continued enjoying life at the beach.
Update: 8:45 AM CST
See Penguins and Pyjama Sharks frolic togther live on Web Cam.
Our friends at the California Academy Of Sciences asked us to share this with everyone:
“Warning: Cute alert!”
“Pocket Penguins, streaming in real-time from the California Academy of Sciences, provides an intimate view into our live African penguin exhibit. Watch the birds swim, dive, flirt, nest and relax from any one of three live webcams. Listen in as Academy biologists answer questions from visitors during meal time, daily at 10:30am and 3:00pm PST. “
The live web cam coverage is available for computer, Android and iPhone.