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Where to see Port Jackson sharks in South Australian waters

While SA’s home to many shark species, the cutest has to be the Port Jackson. Here’s what they’re like.

Port Jackson sharks are Australian, stripy, grow up to 1.65 metres long, and are named after Port Jackson Harbour in Sydney where they have key resting sites.  

The species is harmless to humans and can be found in waters around southern Australia, and are regularly spotted along Adelaide’s metropolitan beaches.

A top spot to see them is Port Noarlunga Reef in Encounter Marine Park. Usually in about November each year, Port Jackson sharks congregate here to breed. Mating is the only time that male and female Port Jackson sharks share ocean space. 

Here are three cute facts about Port Jackson sharks to keep in mind when you see one:

1. Their teeth are small and flat

They don’t have your typical shark-like ‘jaws’, but rather small and pointed front teeth and flat and blunt back teeth. This allows them to hold and crush their meals of sea urchins, molluscs and crustaceans.

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2. They tuck eggs between rocks

The female lays about a dozen dark brown and spiral-shaped soft-cased eggs, then uses her mouth to wedge them in rock crevices to allow the baby shark to safely develop for about 12 months.

Once the shark pup hatches, it hangs out in the shallow waters until it's big enough to swim deeper.

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3. They hide in rocky reefs

Port Jackson sharks spend their days hiding in the nooks and crannies of rocky reefs.

They keep to themselves, and are not usually active during the day, but feed at night.

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Take a guided snorkel with Pork Jackson sharks this month

Who wants to swim with Nakudla? Nakudla is the Aboriginal Kaurna word for shark.

Come along on a guided snorkel at Port Noarlunga Reef Sanctuary Zone from 9 – 17 November to witness Nakudla in their native environment.

During November, Nakudla visit the shallow Port Noarlunga reef to mate, lay eggs and then rest – often aggregating in large numbers.

To book your spot visit the Experiencing Marine Sanctuaries booking page.

Intrigued by South Australia’s underwater world? Learn more from our blogs about seahorses, whales, and baby marine animals.

This story was originally posted in October 2018.

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