Staff at an aquarium are feeding baby sharks by hand after the choosy fish refused to dine any other way.
The five bamboo sharks will only consume their full daily ration of tiny shrimps if they can eat out of the palm of someone’s hand.
Fortunately for their handlers, the baby sharks - which measure between eight inches and a foot long - do not pose any threat, but they could reach up to five feet when fully grown.
Staff at Birmingham’s National Sea Life Centre said the situation arose as the babies shared their tank for the first few weeks of their lives with a shoal of greedy box fish.
Aquarist Lynsey Thompson said: “The sharks are a little bit dopey, and by the time they spurred themselves into action the box fish had eaten all the food.
“We started hand-feeding them to make sure they got enough, and now, even though the box fish have been moved to another tank, the sharks still want their meals hand-delivered.
“It sounds like a hazardous job, but if you cup the food in your palm they basically vacuum it up and there’s little danger of losing any fingers.
“They could give a little bit of a nip but they’re quite gentle, it just tickles really.”
She added: “We hadn’t anticipated the rearing of these babies being quite so labour-intensive, but we’re confident once they move onto diced squid and mackerel that we’ll soon get them feeding for themselves.”
The five baby sharks are the offspring of another resident at the aquarium, Basil, who used to be someone’s pet.
His former owner Mike Sparrow, of Acocks Green, Birmingham, bought him from a garden centre at a foot long, but the shark more than doubled in size in just one year.
Mr Sparrow said: “It was when he started turning over two kilogram rocks with his nose that I realised he needed a bigger home.”
More of Basil’s offspring are yet to hatch at the aquarium.