A diver who found a shark egg on the beach successfully hatched and reared it.

Gio Reale came across the cat shark egg on the shore at Brighton in July after it was washed up in a storm.

He took it to Brighton Watersports, where he works as an instructor, and set up a hatchery for it and nurtured it. Lenny the shark was born and, four months after finding the egg, Gio had a bittersweet moment where he released him into the sea.

The 22-year-old, who lives in Brighton, said: “It was a really rewarding experience. I sometimes come across shark eggs and they’re normally empty but this one wasn’t.

“The owners allowed me to set up a hatchery for him and we went and collected some water for him every day whatever the weather.

The Argus: A Cat sharkA Cat shark (Image: Gio Reale)

“It was upsetting to let him go after seeing him for hours every day.

"There had been times when I was away and I was constantly worried about him.

“It’s all really rewarding and I would definitely do it again.”

Watch Lenny's story here:




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Gio, who regularly dives off the Sussex coast, said he cared for the lesser cat shark, also known as a dogfish, for over four months.

Once he was ready to be released, he took Lenny out to the sea near the West Pier and let him go.


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Cat sharks can be commonly found around Sussex’s shoreline and are one of numerous species of shark in the UK.

They grow to roughly a metre long and are often found around seabeds.

The Argus: Gio Reale looking after the sharkGio Reale looking after the shark (Image: Gio Reale)

The hatchery for the shark was the second set up by Brighton Watersports this year. It also reared more than 50 cuttlefish rescued from the shore.

Gio said: “This is the first year we have done it. It really shows the diversity of wildlife around here.

“We would love to try and hatch a ray next time as we often find them too.

“It has been an amazing feeling and really rewarding.”