Dive Trips to Bali: Meeting the Wobbegong Shark!

Dive Trips to Bali: Meeting the Wobbegong Shark!

When you are thinking about sharks, you might imagine big, torpedo-shaped fish with lots of sharp teeth in its big mouth, lurking around coral reefs in the search of prey. But have you ever seen a carpet-like shark? True to its nickname, the Wobbegong shark looks much like a carpet and spends the majority of its life motionless on the sea floor. The Wobbegong shark is quite rare to be seen. Not only because their camouflage skill make it hard to spot them on the ocean floor, but also because they don’t dwell in any ocean in the world. However, you can meet Wobbegong on your dive trips to Bali and here’s a story about this unique creature!

Get to Know the Wobbegong Sharks

The flat, well-camouflaged tasselled wobbegong remains quietly on the seafloor, waiting for unwary prey to swim too close. It belongs to the carpet shark family, which gets its name from the fact that it lives on the seafloor. The tasselled wobbegong mixes in nicely with its environment in coral reefs, thanks to its blotchy coloration and highly branched skin flaps that conceal its mouth and head.

Dweller of the Ocean Floor

Wobbegong’s scientific name really resembles its appearance. It’s Eucrossorhinus dasypogon, which roughly translates to “well-fringed nose with shaggy beard,” it’s easy to understand how this little guy may go overlooked. It uses camouflage as a feeding strategy and has a variety of different tricks under its sleeve for hunting prey.

The Shaggy Beard

Why are sharks nicknamed “shaggy” in the first place? The explanation for this is that wobbegong sharks appear to have a beard. They have whiskers (called barbels) around their nostrils and flaps of skin around their mouths and eyes, as well as on the sides of their heads, that look like tiny fins. The scientific name for the wobbegong shark family is Orectolobidae, which comes from the Greek words orektos, which means “stretched out,” and lobos, which means “lobe.”

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Finding Wobbegong Shark in Your Dive Trips to Bali 

Finding Wobbegong Shark in Your Dive Trips to Bali
GIli Mimpang, Bali

With the exception of the Japanese wobbegong, which is found in Japan, they are generally found in shallow waters near Australia and Indonesia. They enjoy clearer waters than others and can be found in bays, caverns, rocky bottoms, and reefs. This shark can be found from the intertidal zone to 110 meters deep on the continental shelf. Coral and rocky reefs, piers, and sandy bottoms are all frequent places to find them. They’ve also been found to swim in water that’s just deep enough to cover their bodies.

In Bali, they are most commonly found around Nusa Lembongan, Padang Bali, Gili Mimpang, and Gili Tepekong. The two Gili are especially famous if you want some shark adventure, due to having a shark cave in the area. Don’t be afraid to embark a scuba diving safari to Bali to see sharks! Seeing this lovely creatures gliding through the water is a sight to behold!

The Wait-and-Catch Hunter

Because wobbegong sharks are slow and lethargic, they do not aggressively seek food. Instead, they disguise themselves in sand and rocks, then move their barbels to attract smaller fish that the shark feeds on. The hunting habits of these sharks are characteristic of ambush predators.

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They Can Walk!

Meeting the Wobbegong Shar

If you’re lucky enough to meet the Wobbegong sharks during your dive trips to Bali, take time to observe their behavior. Because, what makes this carpet shark even more unique is that they can walk! These sharks appear to be strolling on the seafloor, with their fins pressing against their bodies. Even when they are active, they rarely swim, so they move around in a lethargic manner that resembles walking. Wobbegongs can even emerge fully from the water. When they go from one tidal pool to the next, they do this. They have little trouble finishing their movement after their gills have become moistened.

Are you ready for your amazing carpet shark encounter?