Vegetarian Shark Thought to be World's First

A shark at a zoo in England has developed a new taste for leafy greens following surgery to save its life.

Florence, a six-foot nurse shark, underwent surgery to remove a rusty hook that had become lodged in her mouth; the highly publicized event was the first such out-of-water procedure to be performed on the shark, according to the BBC.

"The hook had obviously been there for years and was badly rusted which is what had made her so ill…She was put on antibiotics and made a swift recovery," Graham Burrows Curator at the Birmingham National Sea Life Center, said.

The shark was sent to the Birmingham National Sea Life Center to recover and is where she developed her fondness of leafy greens. However, that is not a nurse shark's normal diet. They are known to eat crustaceans and small fish on the sea floor. They have been known to eat algae, but it does happen to be rare according to shark experts.

The caretakers at the animal center have to go to great lengths to ensure that Florence gets the right amount of protein in her diet. In order to complete this task they have had to devise ways to get meat into the diet as well.

"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," Burrows said.

"And it has to be well hidden, because if she realizes it's there she'll ignore the offering and wait for the strictly vegetarian option."

But caretakers were surprised to see a carnivore completely change their diet so quickly, but are determined to ensure that Florence gets the proper nutrition she requires to lead a health life.

"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," Burrows said jokingly.