New Zoo Near You (Raymond, NH)

Featuring the Whale Shark

A new zoo is coming to Raymond, NH. This zoo features many exhibits including the largest aquatic exhibit found in North America where the whale shark will be displayed. This creature is the highlight of the zoo as it was rescued at a young age.




The goal of the zoo is to educated people about our animals. This week is all about the whale shark.

Full Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Chondrichthyes

Order: Orectolobiformes

Family: Rhincodontidae

Genus: Rhincodon

Species: typus

Description of Appearance

Our whale shark will grow to be 15 meters and around 15 tons. As you can see the shark's dorsal side is dark grey with white spots and stripes. The whale shark has a flattened head and mouth that can get up to 4 feet wide. The mouth is at the very front of the head (unlike most sharks whose mouths are located on their ventral side under their snout) that contain about 3,000 tiny teeth. The whale shark has five sets of large gill slits, two pectoral fins, two dorsal fins, and a tail which top half is larger than the bottom half.
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Feeding Pattern

The whale shark is a filter feeder so we put large volumes of plankton into its tank, as well as krill, small fish, and squid. It can filter over 1500 gallons of water every hour. The water taken in will then be filtered through tiny sponge tissue located between the gills. Thousands of gill rakers (4 inch bristles) are then used to filter the food from the water, The water is expelled from the gills and the food is then swallowed.

Habitat

Whale sharks live near the equator so we keep our tank's water at a fairly warm temperature. They normally stay near the surface of the water and are found both in the open seas and along the coast.
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Senses

Whale sharks have a sixth sense that comes from nerve cells called the Ampullae of Lorenzini. These specialized nerve cells can detect electromagnetic fields transmitted by other animals that are in a close proximity. This helps the whale shark locate its food.

Close relatives

The nurse and zebra sharks are the whale shark's closest relatives. Although, the whale shark is the only species that comes from the Rhincodontidae family.

Threats

Threats to the whale shark would include migration disturbance, sound disturbance, tourism, boat strikes, trade, and habitat damage.


Detailed information about these threats can be found at: https://www.environment.gov.au/node/15911#tourism

Come Visit!

We are very excited to show off the large number of animals, especially the whale shark, at the new zoo. Be sure to stop on by and check it out!

citations

"Whale Shark Description." Whale Shark Biology and Description. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Jan. 2016.

"The Shark Trust - Taxonomy." The Shark Trust - Taxonomy. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Jan. 2016.

"WHALE SHARK - Zoom Sharks." WHALE SHARK - Zoom Sharks. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Jan. 2016.

"Whale Shark Biology." FLMNH Ichthyology Department: Whale Shark. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Jan. 2016.

"Whale Shark." Whale Shark. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Jan. 2016. <http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/fact-sheets/2012/02/07/whale-sharks>.

Whale Shark (Rhincodon Typus) Issues Paper. Department of the Environment and Heritage, n.d. Web. <https://www.environment.gov.au/node/15911>

"Whale Shark." Aquarium of the Pacific. N.p., n.d. Web. <http://www.aquariumofpacific.org/onlinelearningcenter/species/whale_shark>.