Thelma and Louise can be found at Shark Pass, locations Lower Level 5 and Upper Level 20.


Thelma and Louise's Story

A private collector took Thelma and Louise out of the wild as young pups and later learned that nurse sharks continue to grow regardless of how large or small their tank is. When they had outgrown their tank, the collector could no longer care for them and brought them to Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

We have given these two sharks a forever home here at Clearwater Marine Aquarium where they have plenty of room to move about. In fact we train both sharks using target poles. Our future goal is to teach both sharks to voluntarily participate in their medical management program.


Fun Facts About Thelma and Louise

Species: Nurse Shark (Ginglymostoma cirratum)
Sex: Females
Did You Know?

  • Nurse sharks possess very sharp teeth, can grow to 14 feet long and live to be about 25 years old.
  • A nurse shark’s teeth are fan-shaped.
  • Nurse sharks use their powerful throat muscles or pharyngeal muscles, to suck up their prey.
  • The process in which nurse sharks suck up their prey is similar to a baby nursing on it’s mother, hence their name, nurse shark.
  • Fleshy, whisker-like appendages that hang from the snout of the nurse shark are called barbels. These are thought to help a nurse shark feel prey on the ocean floor.
  • Nurse sharks are nocturnal, and can be found on sandy bottoms such as reef flats, sandy lagoons and near mangroves.
  • Louise can be distinguished from Thelma by very faint white spots down her dorsal (back) side and a notch out of her dorsal fin.