Thelma and Louise: Shark Sisters

Yes, you can Thelma and Louise apart. Thelma has a "bite" mark on her dorsal fin as well as four gills while Louise has no marks on her dorsal fin. She is also smaller than Thelma.


More than two weeks ago, my sister Janis was doing a brief shift at the Sea Cavern when guests saw a grouper’s head just floating around the shark tank. As it turned out, Thelma took a bite out of her grouper tank mate and ate him. One of the volunteers, who was present at the time, was so shocked by the grouper’s death, that she was very sad about it. However, after the grouper died, the colony at the cavern was starting to become out of balance and thus, the aquarium had to get a new grouper a week later.

Themla and Louise have been part of the CMA family for a number of years now. Believe it or not, they were originally pets that were owned by a private owner. When their former owner first got them, they were juveniles that could easily fit into a traditional small fish tank. The owner originally believed that they would remain small for the rest of their lives. But, man, he was wrong. It turned out that as they got older, the girls were starting to get to big for their tiny home. So, the owner had decided to donate his two beloved pet nurse sharks to an aquarium where they can live out the rest of their lives. It was then, Thelma and Louise were donated to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, where they have resided ever since.

Thelma and Louise are a huge testimony to why sharks don’t make great household pets. Today, it’s illegal in the state of Florida to keep nurse sharks as pets. Only zoos and aquariums can legally display them for both educational and scientific purposes.


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