Brownbanded bamboo sharks belong to the family Hemiscyllidae. Other bamboo shark species include the white-spotted bamboo shark and the epaulette shark.


Brownbanded bamboo sharks are known as "cat sharks" because the nasal barbels near their mouth look like cat whiskers. These are actually sensory organs that help them to locate food.

Juvenile sharks are marked with dark bands across the body and scattered dark spots. Adults are light brown with very faint or no banding visible. These sharks have long slender bodies with two spineless dorsal fins of equal size.

They can grow to be about three feet long.


Brownbanded bamboo sharks are found in ocean and tidal pools.

Their ranges are the Indo-West Pacific Ocean and off the coast of New Guinea and Northern Australia.


Their diet consists of crab, shrimp and small fish. They are nocturnal predators and will scour the bottom for food, sucking in what they find.

They have a small mouth and will spit out food that is too large for them to digest.


Because they often hunt in tide pools, these sharks can survive up to 12 hours out of the water.

These docile sharks are most active at night.


Larger sharks are potential predators of the brownbanded bamboo shark.


The brownbanded bamboo shark is listed as "Near Threatened" by the World Conservation Union (IUCN). Threats to this animal include collection for human consumption and habitat degradation due to dynamite and cyanide fishing. Marine debris, or any garbage that ends up in the ocean instead of the landfill or recycling center, is also a problem.