Page last updated at 11:41 GMT, Tuesday, 28 July 2009 12:41 UK

Celebrations for grand old shark

Tinkerbell the shark
Tinkerbell is a 10ft giant sand tiger shark, and could be the oldest aquarium shark in Britain

A shark thought to be the oldest living in a British aquarium has reached the age of 25.

Tinkerbell, a 10ft giant sand tiger shark, lives in the aquarium at Deep Sea World, North Queensferry.

Divers are planning to enter her 4.5 million litre tank and tempt her with a range of tasty treats.

Deep Sea World officer, Tina Aydon, said: "We've a selection of special fish-flavoured pressies we're planning to feed Tinkerbell on her birthday."

She added: "She's a fantastic-looking shark and is extremely popular with all of the divers and the zoological team as well as with visitors.

"Despite her age she appears to be in absolutely fantastic condition and she's definitely the matriarch of the Underwater Safari."

30,000 teeth

Despite her impressive age, Tinkerbell still has some way to go if she is to take the title of the world's oldest sand tiger. A shark called Bertha at the New York Aquarium died at the age of 43.

Sand tiger sharks are found in tropical and temperate waters in the Atlantic, Indian and western Pacific Oceans, although the species is known by different common names in different regions, including grey nurse shark in Australia and raggy-toothed shark in South Africa.

In the wild they mainly live in shallow coastal waters from the surf zone down to 60m, although individuals have been recorded from water as deep as 190m.

Sand tiger sharks are constantly replacing blunt, damaged or old teeth and it has been estimated a single shark can have up to 30,000 teeth in a lifetime.

Anyone who can prove they share their birthday with Tinkerbell will receive free entry to Deep Sea World on 29 July, 2009.

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