A shark kept alone while her tank was refurbished has amazed keepers – by laying an egg with a tiny baby inside.
The brown banded bamboo shark had been alone without a male for six months at the Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary in Norfolk.
An egg appeared in her tank over the Easter weekend and was thought to be infertile until it was checked.
But when a torch was shone on the egg it revealed an embryo inside which could hatch at any time.
The discovery has been explained by the fact that the sharks can store a male’s sperm for SIX MONTHS.
Aquarist Kirsty Sopp said: “When we shone a torch through it to check, we were surprised and delighted to see a wriggling embryo.
“The mother was last with a male in May last year, so she must have stored his sperm for around six months.”
Brown banded bamboo sharks, found in the wild in Japan to northern Australia, are classed as ‘near threatened’, because of habitat loss and overfishing.
They grow to just over three feet long and feed mainly on shrimp, scallop and squid.
They belong to the family of sharks known as carpet sharks which spend much of their time resting on the seabed.