Wobbegong Shark

The word wobbegong is believed to mean "shaggy beard," referring to the growths around the mouth of the wobbegong that give it its beard-like appearance. They are one of the many shark species found in the Whitsundays. As a general rule, they are bottom-dwelling sharks that spend much of their time on the seafloor, among the rocks or under ledges. Their camouflage allows them to stay well hidden, with symmetrical patterns of bold markings that blend in well with corals and sand. They have small vegetation-like flaps around their mouths which give them their beard-like appearance. 

Wobbegongs make use of their ability to blend in to hide out and catch smaller fish that swim too close, a typical action of ambush predators like the wobbegong. Under the cover of night wobbegongs actively stalk octopuses, squid, crabs, sharks (including other wobbegongs), rays and reef fishes. The largest of the species, the spotted wobbegong, grows up to 3.2 m long, although most will not grow longer than 1.25m.

Wobbegongs are generally not dangerous to humans that are snorkelling or scuba diving in the Whitsundays. If disturbed, they will mostly swim away, avoiding any human contact if possible. However, they have been known to bite if provoked or if accidentally stepped on. For this reason, it's advised to watch them from a distance (if you are able to even see them), ensuring you do not poke or handle them. They are very flexible and can easily bite the hang of a hand that is holding its tail - an ability that only wobbegongs can do among the shark family.

They have small, yet sharp teeth that are able to inflict a severe bite, even through a wetsuit. They are also known for hanging on pretty well once they clamp on, which can be troublesome for those who have been bitten! To avoid accidental interaction, ensure you don't walk among the corals where they might be resting, and don't touch anything while snorkelling or scuba diving. These beautiful and unique sharks and are an amazing sight to see as they glide around the reef, and are best viewed from a distance. 

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