1. ITV Report

Birmingham home to world's first vegetarian shark?

Florence the shark shuns meat in favour of lettuce

The world's first shark to survive a surgical procedure may also be the first to become a vegetarian.

Staff at Birmingham National Sea Life Centre have resorted to devious tactics to ensure Florence the nurse shark is receiving enough protein.

“We’re having to hide pieces of fish inside celery sticks, hollowed out cucumbers and between the leaves of lettuces to get her to eat them,” said curator Graham Burrows.

“And it has to be well hidden, because if she realises it’s there she’ll ignore the offering and wait for the strictly vegetarian option.”

– Display Team at Birmingham's National Sea Life Centre

Turning her fin up at meaty meals is not the first time Florence has caused staff at the Sea Life Centre concern.

When she first arrived from Florida she was found to have a fishing hook buried deep inside her mouth.

Florence became the first shark to survive surgery out of water when specialist vet Nick Masters from the International Zoo Veterinary Group in Bristol performed a ground-breaking operation to remove it.

The operation saw Florence sedated, then lifted onto an operating table whilst tubes pumped saltwater through her gills.

Graham, a member of the team at the Sea Life Centre says they were not overly surprised when Florence first took a bite of broccoli as nurse sharks do occasionally feast on algae.

“We just weren’t expecting her to go completely veggie. We wouldn’t want her to be an embarrassment to the other flesh-eating hammerheads and black-tipped reef sharks in the ocean tank.”

– Graham - Member of displays team Birmingham's Sea Life Centre
Florence the shark 'going green' at Birmingham's National Sea Life Centre Credit: Birmingham's National Sea Life Centre