Getting a six-foot, 150-pound sandbar shark to Baltimore’s National Aquarium isn’t easy. Like many sharks, sandbars swim to breathe, getting oxygen from water as it passes through their mouths and gills. Which means they can’t stop for long. The aquarium doesn’t need a new sandbar often—only two are in the collection, and they live about 40 years. Here’s what happens when a new one is brought in.
Fun Fact: Sandbars—like many other sharks—need to eat only two or three times a week, and they’re picky. Aquarium staff shop alongside local chefs at the seafood market in Fells Point for pristine rockfish, black bass, and tautog.
Illustrations by Chris Philpot.
This article appears in the July 2012 issue of The Washingtonian.