The Wobbegong Shark gets its name from an Australian Aboriginal word meaning ‘shaggy beard’ because of the whiskery growths on its mouth. These are called barbels, and are used to draw curious animals closer, for the Wobbegong to eat. The Wobbegong isn’t dangerous to humans, but will bite if stood on. And because it has hundreds of tiny teeth, it doesn’t find it easy to let go!
Wobbegong Carpet Sharks
Wobbegong is the common name for 12 species of Carpet Shark, which include the Spotted Wobbegong and Banded Wobbegong. The word Wobbegong is believed to be an Australian Aboriginal word meaning ‘shaggy beard’, due to the whiskery growths (called barbels) along the animal’s mouth. This shark is bottom-dwelling, and is found in the shallows of temperate and subtropical environs across the western Pacific and eastern Indian Ocean, mostly concentrated in the waters of Indonesia and Australia. Its spotted skin affords wonderful camouflage in rocky and sandy environments, and they are effective ambush predators of mostly small fish, using their barbels to attract curious prey closer. The Wobbegong is not considered dangerous to humans, but will bite if interfered with or accidentally stood upon. The largest Wobbegong Shark is the Spotted Wobbegong, growing to 3 metres (10 ft) in length. Their flesh is often sold for human consumption, labelled ‘flake’.