Meet the Main Characters in this Adventure
Norman the Nurse Shark
Norman is a nurse shark who loves munching on conch and curling up with his brothers and sisters. His hunger and curiosity get the best of him and he ends up in a fish trap. Once free from the trap, Norman sets out on an epic journey to find his family and figure out just what kind of animal he is.
Nurse sharks (Ginglymostoma cirratum) are listed as ‘date deficient’ on the IUCN Red List. They are targeted for meat, skin and fins throughout the Caribbean and South America, but are also caught and kept as incidental ( bycatch) catch.
While there is a more complicated explanation, the most commonly accepted origin of their name is from the sucking noise they make when feeding; it sounds like a nursing baby. These sharks do not have to swim to stay alive. They can use their buccal (mouth) muscles to pump water across their gills, allowing them to breathe without moving and to lie motionless on the sea floor or under coral ledges.
They are primarily nocturnal, which means they are active at night and feed on lobsters, fish, and squid. They can even suck a conch (large sea snail) out of the shell with the approximate sucking power of 10 vacuum cleaners !
Nurse sharks give birth to live young after a gestation period of 4.5- 5 months. The pups hatch from egg cases within the mother, the egg cases are shed and a few weeks later the pups are born. Baby nurse sharks are born with dark spots that fade as they grow. A single litter has an average of 20-30 pups. Pups are approximately 27-30 cm (10.6-11.8 in) when they are born with adults reaching a maximum size of about 300 cm (9.8 ft) in length.
Patrik the Eagle Ray
Patrik is a spotted eagle ray inspired by the Rollefson family. Patrik helps Norman on his journey and the two become great friends.
Spotted eagle rays (Aetobatus narinari ) are listed as ‘near threatened’ on the IUCN Red List. The species has a low reproductive rate with females having a maximum litter size of 4 after a 12 month gestation period. They are known to school in inshore areas, which makes them extremely vulnerable to a diverse range of fishing gear, including beach seines, longlines, trawls and gillnets. In Cuba and Mexico they are targeted and harvested for food. More information about their migration, feeding habits, reproductive biology and growth rates is needed to gain a better understanding of their populations and how to best enact conservation efforts.
Jonah the Tiger Shark
Jonah is a tiger shark and was inspired by Michael Aw. Jonah lives around a shipwreck and has a very BIG sharky grin. Jonah, like other tiger sharks, has a very diverse diet, but he very much dislikes all the trash that ends up in the ocean because sometimes it looks like food.
Tiger sharks (Galeocerdo cuvier) are listed as ‘near threatened’ on the IUCN Red List. These sharks are globally targeted for their fins, skin and liver oil, as well as being prized game fish. They are highly migratory and are known to swim thousands of miles in a single year.
After a 14-16 month gestation period, females give birth to between 10-80 pups. Pups have very distinct markings, with their black dots stretching out to be more stripe like as they mature. Length at birth ranges from 51-76 cm (1-1.5 ft) and adults can reach a length of 5.5 me (17 ft) with the average length being 325-425 cm (10-14 ft). Tiger sharks are known to have a very diverse diet including fish, sharks, birds, sea snakes and have been known to consume trash.