The perfectly camouflaged and grumpy face of a tasselled wobbegong is definitely not one that comes to mind when one thinks of sharks but we promise you it is a shark. Tasselled Wobbegongs are members of the carpet shark family. They don't get called carpet sharks because they like to sleep on the carpet, the name is due to the ornate patterns which adorn the skin of many members of this family.
Tasselled Wobbegongs are bottom dwelling sharks who use their mottled patterns and tasseley beard to blend in with the seafloor and become almost invisible. This excellent ability to camouflage makes these animals top notch ambush predators. You see wobbegongs don't really have to work too hard to get their meals, they just pick a spot on the reef where they know tasty fish like to hang out, and they settle in to wait. Small unsuspecting fish usually don't see this master of disguise and will swim right up to its mouth. All the wobbegong has to do then is open its mouth creating a powerful suction and draw the unlucky fish in and CHOMP dinner is served. If this sit and wait method doesn't work the wobbegong has another sneaky trick in its arsenal, it can go fishing. Yes you read that right, wobbegong sharks wave the end of their tail in such a way that it mimics a small fish, this tricks other fish into coming close enough so the shark can strike.
Their almost perfect ability to camouflage also makes them quite hard for us humans to spot so you'll have to keep an eagle eye out if you want to be lucky enough to spot one. You're probably thinking why in the world would I want to spot a shark, but don't worry these grumpy looking characters aren't aggressive towards humans unless provoked, like most animals. So you can swim around them without cause for fear. In Fact these guys think they are so good at becoming invisible that they probably wont move a muscle even if you're staring them straight in the eye, that is if you can spot their eyes as of course, those too are very well camouflaged with their skin. Once you spot their mouths through their whiskery tassels you'll probably start to notice it looks like a pair of smiling lips, which on a shark is pretty comical and you might even laugh into your snorkel.
At Wings Sailing Charters Whitsundays our crew love finding these comical grumps on their snorkels and are always excited to point them out to passengers. How many people can say they have laughed in the face of a shark. Come and join us on board and earn your bragging rights.