Horn Shark

Aquarium Inhabitant Bio

Heterodontus Francisci


A small and unassuming shark that’s harmless to humans. Identified by a mottled gray/brown coloration with dark spots, prominent ridges above the eyes, and presence of large spines in front of each dorsal fin. Length up to 3 feet. One 19” shark present in this exhibit

Habitat and distribution

Mainly bottom dwelling, hidden among the sand and rocks. Native range extends from Monterey Bay in central California, down the coast of Baja, and into the Gulf of California


Mollusks (e.g. snails and clams), echinoderms (e.g. urchins), and crustaceans (e.g. crabs and shrimp). Uses strong teeth and jaws to crack the hard shells of these prey items.

Fun Fact

The large spines in front of each dorsal fin give the horn shark its name. They provide a defense mechanism against potential predators by making sharks less desirable to swallow whole.