The Cat Shark is in the same genus,Chiloscyllium, as the Brownbanded Bamboo Shark, but it gets much larger. While the Brownbanded Bamboo Shark will grow to only 40 inches (104 cm), the Cat Shark will reach a whooping 87 inches (220 cm)! One good sized fish! Obviously too large for many marine aquariums!

We acquired this shark from someone who could not keep it anymore so they gave it to us when it was about 2 feet long. Still very small for a Cat Shark!

We kept it in a 400 gallon display pond with several other sharks and large groupers. You can see the Horned Shark just below the Cat Shark. You can also see why they call it a ‘cat’ shark since its barbels look like cat whiskers.

Scientific Classification

spotted catshark resting at the bottom
Image Credit: mortenunderwater, Shutterstock

Maintenance difficulty

   The Cat Shark gets too large for most aquariums but is otherwise easy to keep.


   Feed all kinds of large meaty foods like small pieces of fish, squid, shrimp, and live goldfish. Best to feed small amounts several times a day.

Habitat: Natural geographic location

  Western Indian Ocean: India, Pakistan, and the Persian Gulf between Iraq and the Arabian Peninsula.


   See ‘maintenance’ above.

Social Behaviors

   Gets along with other fish as long as they are large enough not to be thought of as food!

Sexual differences

    The medial edges of the male’s pelvic fins are modified to form claspers. The claspers are tubelike organs designed to deliver sperm into the female’s reproductive tract. As the males grow older the claspers become more pronounced. The females do not have these.

Recommended light levels

   No special requirements.

cat shark on a coral reef
Image Credit: Aleksandr Kurganov, Shutterstock


   Egglayer, sometimes shark eggs are available for sale. Babies that are born at Sea World in San Diego, California are also occasionally available for purchase.


   No special requirements.

Length/Diameter of fish

   Cat Shark adults can grow to 220 cm ( 87 inches).

Minimum Tank Length/Size

   A minimum 400 gallon aquarium is recommended.

Water Movement: Weak, Moderate, Strong

   No special requirements.

Water Region: Top, Middle, Bottom

   Usually found resting on the bottom.


   This fish is available from time to time available.

Popular Searches

Featured Image Credit: Aleksandr Kurganov, Shutterstock