Friday, September 26, 2008

Naughty File!

Sasha has posted the Naughty File, so there!

Thankfully, it has been posted in its correct aspect ratio, thus sparing me more comments about "fat Sharks" and the like - after all, they're big and healthy enough as it is!

When it comes to all that bumping and grinding, the jury is still out on what it could mean.
It may just be the signature of the camcorder scrambling the Sharks' sensory system. But it may also be an attempt to assert dominance. Most powerfully armed animals resolve their conflicts via highly ritualized fights and employ their weaponry only at the very last resort.

Have you ever "stared away" a Shark?
I've found that to be a highly effective tool and in most of the cases, the animals will veer away as soon as eye contact has been established. Sometimes, however, they will react by making a direct beeline for the camera, especially in the case of some specific, very large and thus likely dominant females as Granma, Crook and Bum.
With that in mind, in Bull Sharks (and other Sharks, too), the escalation in asserting dominance could be as follows: Size - Staring - "Beeline" and "Giving Way" - Bumping - Biting. Yes I know, it's once again only a Hypothesis - but we're working on it.....

Keep in mind that I'm generally out there in the very center of the fray and that I could be regarded as just another big something that is equally interested in the food and thus needs to be put in its place - just like in that take at 0.32 where Kinky bites away Whitetail the Lemon Shark, a rare case of documented interspecific aggression..

As to Scarface, our biggest Tiger (4.5 meters - and growing...) , that's another story altogether - yet maybe it is not.
Doug Perrine took this picture on the very day when Scarface and I met for the first time. What ensued is the final take on the file. The way I see it, she had just taken a fish head from a feeder and upon seeing another person "offering" something dark, she came in and had a nibble. Ever since, she regularly glides in and has a real good look and sniff at both yours truly and the housing, but she has never even opened her mouth again. What you perceive as "bumps" is actually me pushing her away whenever I get the feeling that she lingers for too long, just in case she makes up her mind and decides to do something more radical.
Is there "something going on"? I'm convinced there is, some sort of a "squaring off" which however is limited to both of us resorting to a lot of mutual staring. Very intense for sure, as Tiger Shark eyes sure are something completely different from the reptilian glances I get from most other Carcharhinid Sharks.
Very personally rewarding, too.

Anyway, I just wanted to put things into perspective. As the title implies, this is not our normal fare, nor is it by any stretch of the imagination what our much-supervised and -protected clients are bound to personally experience.


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