Myths

Do Sharks Die When They Stop Moving?

Take a deep breath and hold it as long as you can!

For a long time, sharks have been living around us, swimming and roaming in the deep ocean water. They undergo various adaptations only to survive in the changing environment. Sharks exhibit exceptional swimming actions, they swim by waving their body in side to side curves, the specific movement starts from head producing ripples which push waters backwards and move the body in the forward direction – just like the oars of a boat!

Sharks being active swimmers obviously need to swim to catch the prey, to escape from the attack of other predators and to meet the mates. But one question always revolves around us: do sharks ever quit swimming! Do they swim only to survive? Let’s read on to investigate the mystery!

Why Do Sharks Need To Swim?

The fins of sharks help them in swimming and gills help them in breathing! The gills of most shark’s species require a continuous flow of water to extract oxygen and provide it to sharks for breathing. For this reason, these sharks are always found roaming in the ocean water. Some species of sharks adapt other mechanisms of breathing – they pass water by pumping it in a back and forth direction through the respiratory system and easily respire. These species are mostly found relaxing at the bottom of the ocean and carry out breathing normally.

Do Sharks Die If They Quit Swimming?

Yes! It’s true! Sharks may die if they quit swimming!! But the fact is not applicable to all the species of sharks such as lemon sharks, Tiger sharks and Angel sharks. Indeed many species of sharks need continuous movement and swims actively throughout the ocean for the whole lifespan only to breathe whereas some species of sharks quit swimming and rest for some time at the floor of the ocean where the robust water current helps them in breathing.

Deep divers of the ocean such as sea turtles and whales can hold their breath for a longer period of time and skip a few swimming movements! Relax on the seafloor! But some shark’s species are unable to hold their breath such as The Great White sharks, Hammerhead sharks and Whale sharks need to breathe by passing water waves over their gills!

Do Sharks Sink If They Stop Swimming?

Yes! Sharks may sink to the bottom of the oceans if they skip swimming! Drowning of the sharks makes them susceptible to death, the extremely heavy weight of the body and blocking the availability of oxygen by quitting swimming are the reasons for the sinking of the sharks. For a matter of fact, sharks except few species need to move throughout the extended ocean to overcome the risk of suffocation to survive.

Sharks Can’t Quit Swimming – Is It True?

The fact is not far away from the truth! Sharks are the predatory hunter, they are always in a mode of swimming for hunting and to breathe. The sharks’ large liver provides them buoyancy to up hold the heavy body so that it will neither sink nor drown down to the ocean floor while swimming (ram ventilation).

However some species of sharks that are not active swimmers such as Tiger Shark or Nurse Shark are able to skip swimming for a time being without any problem. This mechanism is called buccalpumping which allows sharks to quit swimming and continue to respire! Peaceful lifestyle!

What Does It Conclude?

Sharks are known as the active swimmers of the ocean water, they always remain in motion for various reasons – in search of food, to escape from enemies and most importantly to breathe. The gills help them to obtain oxygen from the water current. If sharks stop swimming then they will be unable to pass water over their gills and unable to get oxygen, this results in suffocation – the ultimate death of the sharks!

However, few species of sharks are not active swimmers, they are able to hold their breath for some time. These species are found resting and relaxing on the floor of the ocean and continue to breathe! We hope you understand that sharks do not quit swimming ever and hope your all misconceptions have fluttered away!

About the author

Yumna Ahmad

An experienced content writer, photographer, and avid reader amazed by the sea world and its creatures. I am letting people become fascinated with the ocean planet through my writings.