70 years of helping people to care for our ocean

Fishy Fridays – Raggie

By: Judy Mann

Ragged tooth sharks are named for their smooth-edged, pointed teeth that are designed for catching a variety of fish and squid, which are usually swallowed whole.  Raggies, as they are affectionately called, are usually slow moving. Juvenile sharks remain in nursery areas for their first 4–5 years of life, before joining the subadult and adults. Their reproduction is interesting. Males reach maturity at 163 cm and females at 175 cm length, equivalent to an age of 6-7 and 9-10 years respectively. Mating occurs in October-November. Pregnant females then move northward to spend the first part of their gestation in the warmer waters of northern KwaZulu-Natal and southern Mozambique. From June onwards the near-term pregnant females begin to move southwards towards the cooler pupping grounds of the Eastern and Western Cape where they give birth from September-November. They give birth to 2 pups every two years after a gestation period of 9-12 months. They have been evaluated as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List (2009).