Shark Ray Pups Born at Newport Aquarium
Shark Ray Breeding Program Continues to Lead Efforts in Saving Vulnerable Species
Newport Aquarium confirmed that its pregnant shark ray, Sweet Pea, gave birth to nine shark ray pups on Tuesday evening at its offsite animal health facility. Six female and three male pups were born. The pups’ weight ranged from 2.0 to 2.4 pounds, while their length ranged from 18 – 22 inches.
Get the latest updates on Sweet Pea and her shark ray pups in our latest blog post
In October 2015, Newport Aquarium announced both its female shark rays, Sweet Pea and Sunshine were pregnant– the second and third documented cases of shark ray breeding under professional animal care in the world. Sweet Pea became the first documented shark ray to become pregnant in 2013.
Nearly seven years after Newport Aquarium established the Shark Ray Breeding Program, Sweet Pea became the first shark ray to have multiple documented pregnancies.
Sunshine, Newport Aquarium’s second female shark ray, is no longer pregnant as previously announced in October 2015. Newport Aquarium’s veterinary team is working to learn more, but it appears that her body either expelled or reabsorbed the fetuses, which is not uncommon with similar species.
See our four Shark Rays on display in the Newport Aquarium’s Surrounded By Sharks Exhibit
! Extremely rare Shark Rays Sweet Pea, Scooter, Sunshine and Spike will win you over with their human-like eyes, and breathtaking grace.
The name Shark Ray, (Rhina ancylostoma), alludes to its appearance. The front section is broad like a ray with prehistoric ridges along the head, while the back section resembles a shark with dual dorsal fins.
Like sharks and rays, they have a skeleton made of cartilage. A Shark Ray’s mouth is equipped with very strong jaws that are covered in small rounded teeth. The strong jaw and teeth are extremely effective in crushing the hard shells of animals such as crabs and lobsters, their favorite foods.
Meet our Shark Rays on display in our Surrounded By Sharks Exhibit:
- Sweet Pea – In 2005, Newport Aquarium made history by becoming the first aquarium in the Western Hemisphere to display our first Shark Ray, Sweet Pea.
- Scooter – Added in 2007, to create the world’s first Shark Ray Breeding Program.
- Sunshine – Arrived at Newport Aquarium in 2009, and was on display in our Coral Reef Exhibit before transferring to the Aquarium’s off-site research holding facility. She has now joined the rest of the Shark Ray group in the Surrounded By Sharks Exhibit.
- Spike – Our newest member of the Shark Ray group. He weighs just over 200 pounds and is the second male added to the group.