Know your fish | Smooth Hound

The smooth hound is a member of the shark family. It has all the distinguishing features of a shark.

You will find smooth hounds all around the coast of Britain and Ireland, but they are quite rare in the upper regions of Scotland.

They live in water having depths of between 5 and 100m deep, over gravel, sand or mud.

Identification

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This is a small, slender shark having a pointed snout. Its most distinguishing features are that they have a pair of large and equally-sized dorsal fins, and anal fin underneath the back-most dorsal fin, and white spots on the back and sides of the fish.

The usual size for the smooth hound is around 1m long, but some fish have been caught to 1.6m long.

They are a plain grey colour with a creamy underbelly.

Feeding

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Smooth hounds feed mainly at night and, being a member of the shark family you might well expect them to take almost anything that swims – predominantly fish – but that is not so. Smooth hounds favour crustaceans such as crabs, lobsters, hermit crabs and squat lobsters, but that is not to say that they will not take fish and other molluscs when the opportunity arises.

To catch a smooth hound use crab baits, possibly tipped with strips of squid.

Breeding

Smooth hounds mate and give birth to live young. They mate and the eggs are fertilised within the female. They take about a year to gestate and are born in summer, in shallow water.

Normally the smooth hound will give birth to around 15 young.

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