A MYSTERY egg bought in a pet shop has hatched - into a tropical shark capable of growing more than a metre in length.
The bamboo shark, which currently measures around 45cm, has now been donated to Newquay's Blue Reef Aquarium after its Plymouth owner realised it was outgrowing her home tank.
A breed type which is classified as Near Threatened (NT) on the IUCN Red List, the shark is now being looked after in the aquarium's quarantine area. Once it is given a clean bill of health, aquarists plan to put it on public display.
Blue Reef's Lee Charnock said: "It's actually not that unusual for people to buy shark eggs in pet shops without actually knowing which species they are.
"This is obviously not a great idea as the shark can get very big very quickly and the myth that fish and other creatures only grow as large as the tank they are in is just that – a myth.
"There is also a real danger the shark will end up predating on any other creatures which it might share the tank with.
"We would urge everyone to think very carefully before purchasing shark and ray egg-cases unless they know exactly what species they are and have the correct type of tank and set up to look after them properly for their entire life."
Bamboo sharks are most commonly found along the east coast of the Indian Peninsula to northern Australia and as far north as Japan, bamboo sharks live around coral reefs and tidepools.
Their diet consists of meaty foods, such as shrimp, crabs fish and squid and they pose no threat to humans only reaching a maximum of just over a metre in length when fully grown.
Although born with dark bands across their bodies these will gradually fade as they mature and adults are usually a light brown colour.
Bamboo sharks actually prefer shallow waters, however they regularly become stranded in rockpools during low tide. To combat this they have the ability to survive for up to 12 hours out of water.
They are classified as Near Threatened (NT) on the IUCN Red List. The major threats to these sharks are the loss of their habitat, pollution and overfishing.