It is common knowledge that sharks launch themselves in the air during hunting. Others chase their prey out of the water. But did you know that there are sharks that have been observed launching themselves out of the water and onto land to catch their prey? The common smooth-hound shark sometimes even enters mudflats in pursuit of crabs and then wriggles back into the water. The one in this video seems to try to find a way to do exactly that:
The common smooth-hound shark belongs to the same family (Triakidae =houndsharks) as the school shark (and is often confused with it despite its larger second dorsal fin). All members of this family have a unusual smooth skin (nonetheless with tiny denticles), two spineless dorsal fins and oval eyes with nictitating eyelids. They often aggregate in large numbers, like a pack of hounds, thus their name.
This shark is found in shallow waters on sandy and muddy substrates along the eastern shore of the Atlantic Ocean (from the British Isles to South Africa) and in the Mediterranean Sea. It is up to 1.5 metres long and has a grey-brown back and is white on its underneath. Females mature with 11 years (males two year earlier) and give birth to 4-18 living young after a gestation period of 9-11 months.
The common smooth-hound shark is an important sport fish in parts of England and food fish in Africa and the Mediterranean Sea. Due to trawl, longlines and gillnet fisheries it is considered vulnerable globally. For instance, in the Mediterranean Sea landings declined by approximately 85% between 1994 and 2006 (within one generation).