Baby sharks! OdySea Aquarium recently welcomed six sandbar shark pups to its aquatic family. Two male and four female pups were born overnight in the Shark Waters exhibit at OdySea Aquarium mid-November after an approximately 12-month gestation period, the destination announced.

To ensure the safety of the baby sharks, OdySea Aquarium aquarists immediately transferred all the pups to a separate pool of their own off exhibit soon after birth; female sandbar sharks provide no maternal care and pups are born ready for independent survival.

Currently, OdySea’s Animal Health and Animal Care teams are closely overseeing the baby sharks’ well-being and growth. Momma shark is doing well and remains on exhibit for guests to see, representatives say.

The stocky sandbar shark, also known as a brown shark, can weigh up to 200 pounds as an adult and reach up to 7.5 feet in length.

 Currently, the shark pups are about two feet in length, eat well, and are hitting all developmental milestones.

"The birth of these magnificent creatures is a testament to our commitment to marine conservation, education, and outstanding animal care,” says Dave Peranteau, director of animal care and conservation at the aquarium. “We strive to inspire a greater understanding and appreciation for the wonders of the ocean. Join us in celebrating this milestone and the ongoing efforts to protect and preserve marine life for future generations.”

Sandbar sharks are found in coastal waters of temperate and tropical regions around the world. While they are the most abundant shark in the Western Atlantic, they are listed Vulnerable on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List (IUCN). The breed is caught for its fins, oil, skin, and meat, and is targeted in some fisheries. Their slow growth, late sexual maturity, and few numbers of offspring make them a sensitive species to overfishing.

Want to follow these new pups? While they will remain behind-the-scenes until they have achieved substantial growth and maturity, “pup-dates” on the six baby sharks will be posted regularly to OdySea Aquarium’s Facebook page and Instagram account to keep fans updated.