How well do you know about the female shark, what it is called, how the animal gets pregnant, and many more?

On this page, I will share with you some information to help you know more about shark pregnancy and some other things that you need to know.

The challenge is how you will differentiate a male shark from a female shark. 

Can you quickly tell which one is the female and which one is not? So, we will start from this point to get you well informed. 

How can I recognize the female shark?

Identifying a male shark and a female shark is very easy than you could ever imagine. 

You can get to know them through some features which we will share with you. Male sharks are known to be smaller than females, but there is more to the difference.

The male has a pair of claspers like a pair of extra rolls up fins under their body. 

Male sharks have two muscular sacs internally in their abdominal wall and testes, which produce sperm.

But with the female sharks have a pair of ovaries where the eggs are produced. The female sharks have a precaudal pit and caudal keel. 

What is a pregnant shark called?

Pregnant shark has no particular name given to them. However, they can be called different names based on their egg development style or procedure. 

So, I will discuss this in the latter part of the article.

How long do sharks stay pregnant?

The gestation periods for sharks vary, but it takes about five to six months or two years for a shark to stay pregnant from research. [Source][Source]. 

Among the sharks, the spiny dogfish has the most extended gestation period of 24 months. 

Is it all shark that gets pregnant?

Oviparity, viviparity, and Ovoviviparity are the shark species that get pregnant and give birth through laying eggs or delivering a pup known as a baby shark.

How many babies can a shark have in one pregnancy?

Sharks can have one to a hundred babies at a time. It all depends on the type of shark. 

The shark that reproduces through pups that grow inside the mother has fewer babies than those that lay eggs outside the body. 

Do sharks give birth or lay eggs?

There are three types of shark that gives birth, and there is a method of reproduction for each which I will discuss below.

Oviparity – Oviparous shark lays eggs, and an egg case protects the eggs. The egg cases are also called mermaid purses. 

About one-third of the shark species are known to be Oviparous. [Source] Once they get pregnant, they go ahead to deposits the egg cases in the sea to prevent the eggs from predators. 

This is all they can do to protect the egg, and that is where their parenthood ends.

Horn shark, which belongs to Oviparous’s family, deposits its egg in rock crevices where they become too difficult to remove due to their development until they are fully matured. 

This act is familiar to Port Jackson sharks, but they carry the egg cases in their mouth until they find a safe place. 

So, the embryo formed by any oviparous sharks gets its nourishment from the yolk in the egg sack and breaks forth when it’s fully developed. 

Viviparity – This type of sharks carries their embryo through the entire gestation period and give birth to live baby shark called pups. 

The reproduction of this type of shark is similar to how mammals give birth. 

The kind of reproduction system they keep, the embryo must be attached to their mother with a yolk sac placenta which is the only means for them to get the required nutrient for adequate growth. 

Ovoviviparity – The truth about the shark world, especially with females, is that most of them are Ovoviviparity which means they combine two reproduction methods. 

They can either carry the egg through the gestation period or lay the egg out of the body into the sea or somewhere secure. 

5 Facts about Pregnant sharks

Here are some facts you need to know about a pregnant shark.

Female sharks do not nurture babies.

Irrespective of either it is the first time of laying an egg or giving birth, female sharks do not take care of the young ones, unlike what we experience in mammal animals. 

Once they lay the egg or deliver the pups, the pups start to swim for survival, and if it is the egg, they don’t come back to check if it’s developed or not. 

Once it entirely creates and it turns to pups, they swim away too for survival.  

Some embryonic sharks swim with their mothers.

Even when it is not safe to swim with their mother, some embryonic sharks swim around their mother for survival. 

They do that to eat their mother’s unfertilized eggs. So, if you see pups swimming around the giant shark, they may be doing that to get something to eat.

Gestation period

The gestation period of sharks can be from 6 months to 3 years [source], depending on the kind of reproductive system the shark experience. 

Also, the shark does not mature for reproduction until the age of 7 to 15 years.

The female shark can get pregnant on its own

This is common to Zebra sharks, which can easily switch to Asexual reproduction and lay eggs. 

This is proof that some female sharks can quickly change from sexual reproduction to asexual reproduction.

Resting phase

Sharks do not reproduce every year. So, they have their own time to rest, which is known as the resting phase. 

It can take close to a year or two for them to relax after any reproduction.


We have done justice to share some exciting facts that you should know about sharks and shark’s pregnancies. 

We have all sections covered for you to increase your knowledge of female sharks and talk about them even though you can’t go near them.