Sharks are creatures of the deep. They are similar to their prehistoric ancestors in build and purpose. If you are fascinated with this aquatic character, here are some things you need to know about buying a pet shark.

Sharks can be classified as what people call “exotic pets.” They are not the typical type of animal that one takes into their home as a companion. For many pets, there are no special requirements for living environment except comfort. With sharks, you are dealing with a different habitat – the sea.

Most sharks are saltwater fish. This means that you would need to create that same environment within your home if you want your pet to thrive and survive. But this doesn’t need to be your first consideration when deciding on this type of pet. Let’s begin at the beginning.

Iridescent shark swimming in pond
Image Credit: GOLFX, Shutterstock

What to Know Before Owning a Pet Shark

1. Research – Just like with any other purchase, research all there is to know about it. When it comes to sharks, this will include but not be limited to: types of sharks kept as pets, housing requirements, expense, breeders, veterinary care and maintenance.

2. Cost – Owning exotic pets often comes with a high price tag. Because sharks need a lot of room to move, this dictates a large aquarium or pool environment for them. If you don’t already own one, you’ll have to construct it. Factor in dietary needs as well.

3. What to expect – Your pet may start off at four inches long but grow to over a foot in length. This may require a larger habitat in no time at all. Also, sharks are aggressive by nature. You don’t want your choice of pet to put you or others at risk.

4. Know the law – There are different regulations in each state that govern the ownership of certain types of pets. The last thing you want is to run afoul of the law.

5. Ask the experts – Find out from breeders how to spot a sick animal so you don’t get “had” your first time out. Learn to recognize if your shark is not well and needs medical attention.

A pet shark can be a wonderful addition to your home if you are ready for the responsibility. If not, you are endangering the life of the animal entrusted to your care. To that end, establish your shark habitat before bringing it home.

blacktip shark fish
Image Credit: Erman Gunes, Shutterstock

Be sure that you have a large enough aquarium with the proper salt content, sandy bottom and aquarium extras (rocks, etc.) to satisfy the needs of your new pet. A minimum aquarium size is about 200 gallons (depending on the type). Your shark will grow quickly and you don’t want to have to upgrade too soon.

Give your new pet shark every advantage by doing your homework first.

Featured Image Credit: David Clode, Unsplash