The Shedd houses a number of different species of sharks - some on exhibit in the galleries and some in holding or "reserve" tanks behind the scenes, waiting for the startup of the new "wild reef" exhibit opening in the spring of 2003. The following pictures illustrate a feeding session of the white-tipped and black-tipped reef sharks, two of the largest and most impressive species on reserve at the moment.

As with marine mammals, all shark food is carefully inspected and sorted before feeding. In addition, these smelt have been stuffed with vitamins.


The juicy stuff - fish guts, brains, etc. - are all stuffed into a hollow PVC capsule with holes in it. The "chum tube" is dipped into the water and acts as a chemical verison of a dinner bell.

Food is fed piece-by-piece near the surface of the water to allow the staff to identify and keep track of who eats what.


Several people are always present at each feed - redundancy in observes helps ensure accurate record keeping even if one person is unable to identify which individual took the last food item. Detailed records of how much food each individual consumes allows the staff to provide the animals better care. Slight declines in appetite can be an early warning of more serious health problems.

Yet another observer watches from below to take behavioral notes like how many "passes" an individual makes before taking a food item.

One of the in-house vet services staff, William in this photo, is also always present to observe shark feeds and watch for unusual behaviour.

Click here to see general photos of the shark tanks and feeding sharks.

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