A couple of days ago I received a Mako shark head from a client who wanted it to be cleaned up into a skull mount.
The head itself was quite large, measuring around 43cm from the tip of the snout to the base of the skull. There were a couple of damaged and broken teeth, more in the lower jaw than the upper. They were removed together with the ones directly behind the broken one.
The head was skinned and fleshed out roughly, and then placed in solution to help loosen up the remaining tissue from the skull area nd jaw area.
Whilst I was removing the skin from the snout area, I exposed the area where the Ampullae of Lorenzini are, a section in the snout filled with a gel-like material that allows for electrical reception while the shark is swimming.
I noticed there was a long object wedged within the area, and lodged inside the area of the upper palate. I recognised it immediately as a stingray barb. At first I thought it had gone it via the front of the snout, then realised it had come in through the upper palate.
It would seem that while eating the stingray, the barb lodged itself in the upper palate and pushed its way through to the anterior of the snout cavity.
I am not sure whether the shark would have felt any pain from that, however certainly there would be some form of discomfort, especially when it was lodged in an extremely sensitive area such as the snout.
The incredible toughness and resilience of these Mako sharks is phenomenal, and they never cease to amaze me.