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Living hand to jaw at aquarium.

STAFF at an aquarium are feeding baby sharks by hand after the choosy fish refused to dine any other way.

The five bamboo sharks will consume their full daily ration of tiny shrimps only if they can eat out of the palm of someone's hand.

Fortunately for their handlers, the baby sharks - between eight inches and a foot long - do not pose any threat, but they could reach up to 5ft when fully grown.

Staff at Birmingham's National Sea Life Centre said the situation arose as the babies shared their tank for the first few weeks of their lives with a shoal of greedy box fish.

Aquarist Lynsey Thompson said: "The sharks are a little bit dopey, and by the time they spurred themselves into action the box fish had eaten all the food.

"We started handfeeding them to make sure they got enough, and now, even though the box fish have been moved to another tank, the sharks still want their meals hand delivered. It sounds like a hazardous job, but if you cup the food in your palm they basically vacuum it up and there's little danger of losing any fingers. They could give a little bit of a nip but they're quite gentle, it just tickles really.

"We hadn't anticipated the rearing of these babies being quite so labourintensive."

CAPTION(S):

FEEDING TIME... a baby bamboo shark is given tiny shrimps by hand at the Sea Life Centre.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Jun 20, 2008
Words:241
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