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A touch experience

Bonnethead Shark and Cownose Ray Touch Pool

The large touch pool in Shark Lagoon is now home to juvenile bonnethead sharks and cownose rays.

Bonnethead sharks are the smallest of the ten hammerhead shark species. They usually travel in groups of five to fifteen and have been observed migrating in schools of up to 1,000.

The bonnethead eats a varied diet of fish, invertebrates, and even seagrass. Their teeth are adapted for this diet, with rows of sharp teeth in front for grabbing soft-bodied prey and flat molar-like teeth in back that are designed to crush the shells of invertebrates, including crabs and bivalves.

The unique shape of the cownose ray’s nose, or rostrum, gives the species its name. The front of the head has two lobes, which, combined with a notch in its cartilaginous skull, gives the ray’s head a cow-like appearance. The broad pectoral fins of the cownose ray are shaped like wings and help it migrate great distances in the wild.

These smaller rays are related to the large eagle and manta rays and can be found in the Gulf of California, Galapagos Islands, and in waters ranging from Costa Rica to Peru.