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A member of the oldest and most primitive group of living sharks, the Herxanchiformes, the Cowshark has seven gill slits as opposed to most shark's five gill slits, has a single dorsal fin placed very far back over the pelvic fins and has no nictitating membrane (protective third eyelid).

They are large, very active sharks reaching three metres in length and 170 kgs in weight. Silver/grey to brown on their upper surface and much paler below, they are covered in black and white or brown spots.

Although found at depths of a few metres to several hundred metres, their preferred habitat is very close to a rocky bottom.Their prey is often large including marine mammals (seals and dolphins), sharks and rays but will also happily eat carrion or even smaller items such as shark eggs. The Broadnose Cowshark is known to hunt occaisionally in packs of several animals though it's preferred hunting method for larger species of prey appears to be a stealthy approach preferrably from behind with a sudden high speed attack .... very similar to our large cats -lions and leopards.

Although relatively widespread across the globe, commercial fisheries and sport fishing have reduced numbers considerably in most areas. The False Bay area of South Africa has become one of the few areas of the world where they can be seen and approached by divers.


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