In spite of the fact that the majority of fish species are able to take a rest by opening and closing their mouths in order to maintain the flow of water, there are a few species that absolutely must continue to swim. What is not like we thought that all sharks, or all fish, are required to keep swimming in order to keep the circulation of water and oxygen through their gills constant? The gray reef shark, also known as Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos, was what the scientists believed to be a special case. These sharks were discovered peacefully sleeping on the bottom under the protection of the steep reef slabs that encircle the islands in the Seychelles. How intriguing!
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There is something very special about tiptoeing’ around underwater at a depth of 25 meters and looking into the open eyes of sleeping sharks, moving carefully so as not to wake the peaceful beauties, related Craig Foster, a filmmaker (My Octopus Teacher) and one of the divers who assisted with the recent research.
Even though the sharks were apparently unable to move, the divers saw that their lower jaws were moving in a manner that was similar to that of animals that employ buccal pumping, which is a process that involves opening and shutting the mouth in order to ‘breathe’ while they were standing still. In all honesty, it is incredible! Just imagine how this sleeping habit would be catastrophic for the gray reef sharks if they were obligate ram ventilators.
Check out this amazing footage of these adorable sharks taking a nap below:
Gray reef sharks believed to be sleeping have been observed in two distinct sites, according to the latest research. Back in September 2022, there was a sighting of three sharks, including at least one female, sleeping together. During their subsequent visits to this location in April 2023, the divers observed anything from one to four sharks taking a nap in this undersea daybed. More research is definitely going to uncover more intriguing facts!