Moody Gardens welcomes six nurse sharks to the Caribbean exhibit inside the Aquarium Pyramid. The nurse sharks came to Moody Gardens from the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma, Washington as a result of that facility undergoing renovations on their exhibit and no longer being able to house the sharks. Moody Gardens was able to provide accommodations with a solution that was mutually beneficial to both facilities.
There are six large nurse sharks each weighing around 250 pounds and aged from 30 to 42 years old. The Caribbean exhibit is approximately 20 feet deep and is currently home to a large variety of fish, stingrays, eels, and sharks. “The sharks are doing amazing in the exhibit and we are thrilled to have them,” said Aquarium Curator Diane Olsen. The nurse sharks are loving their new exhibit and are staying very active. The aquarium biologists continue to monitor all of them closely to see how they continue to adapt to their new home.
The team here at Moody Gardens as well as the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium team all played a huge role in transporting the Nurse Sharks. A team was assembled from members of various departments including maintenance, biologists, divers, and vet techs to assist in the move into the exhibit. The move of these sharks was the largest that the Moody Gardens Aquarium Pyramid staff has taken on. Custom equipment was used to transport the large sharks and it took a lot of planning and effort to move these animals. “It was like clockwork and it was amazing how well the team and sharks did,” said Diane Olsen, Curator at the Aquarium.
The role the nurse sharks play here at Moody Gardens is to display the diversity of sharks. Nurse sharks are very easy to identify. They are not grayish in coloration. Instead, they are yellowish-brown. They also have characteristically round heads, barbels that they use to search for prey, and very small eyes. Nurse Sharks are very unique because they have a societal role and form groups that they stay with their entire life.
Visit the nurse sharks and all their fish friends inside the Caribbean exhibit inside the Aquarium Pyramid. The Moody Gardens Aquarium Pyramid is one of the largest and most diverse aquariums in the United States. With over 1.5 million gallons of water, the Aquarium Pyramid houses marine life from five distinct environments. Not only does the collection include seals and sea lions, but they also have penguins, stingrays, sharks, and over 200 different species of fish.