Sharks have a reputation for being deadly hunters and have inspired countless horror movies and books. But what many people don’t know is that sharks are fascinating creatures that have many unique and interesting facts that are worth exploring. Let’s take a look at some of the coolest shark facts and FAQs that ignite human curiosity.
All the Coolest Shark Facts
1: Diversity of species
Sharks are a diverse group of fish that belong to the class Chondrichthyes. There is a total of more than 400 known species of sharks that exist in the world’s oceans today. They vary greatly in size, shape, and color, with some species growing up to 60 feet long and others being as small as 6 inches.
Sharks have been around for a long time and have evolved into the amazing creatures we see today. Fossil evidence shows that the first sharks appeared over 400 million years ago and have remained largely unchanged since then.
3: Amazing senses
Sharks have an incredible array of senses that help them hunt their prey. Their sense of smell is so acute that they can detect a single drop of blood in an Olympic-sized swimming pool. They also have a lateral line that helps them detect vibrations in the water and electroreceptors that allow them to detect electrical fields.
4: Cartilage skeletons
Sharks, unlike other fish, have cartilage skeletons rather than bone skeletons. This makes them considerably lighter and more flexible, helping them to travel more efficiently through the water. However, because their skeletons are not petrified, learning about their evolution and history is challenging.
5: Live births and eggs
Depending on the species, sharks can either lay eggs or give birth to live young. Some species deposit their eggs in a protective container and then leave them, whilst others maintain the eggs within their bodies and give birth to live young.
6: Ability to swim
Sharks have a unique swimming style that allows them to cover long distances swiftly. They have strong muscles that let them move their fins and swim in the water. Some species, such as the great white shark, can reach speeds of up to 60 kilometers per hour.
7: Endangered species
Unfortunately, many species of sharks are endangered and there are several reasons behind it, but most commonly due to overfishing and habitat loss. Some species, such as the hammerhead shark, have seen a decline of over 90% in the last few decades. This is why it’s important to protect these magnificent creatures and their habitats so that they can continue to thrive in the oceans.
8: Role in the ocean
As apex predators, sharks perform a vital role in the ocean. They aid in the regulation of other species’ populations and the maintenance of the ocean ecosystem’s equilibrium. They also contribute to the food chain by providing food for larger predators like whales and seals.
9: Bony plates
Many species of sharks have bony plates in their skin that provide them with protection from predators and prey. These plates are called dermal denticles and they are similar to teeth.
10: The Great White Shark
It is one of the most famous and feared species of shark. They are known for their size, with some growing up to 20 feet long and weighing over 5,000 pounds. They are also noted for having powerful jaws that they employ to bite their prey. Great white sharks, despite their reputation, are not known to attack humans unless they are threatened.
FAQs About Sharks
Here are all the commonly asked questions about sharks that you need to know.
1: What is the largest species of shark?
The whale shark is known to be the largest species of shark. It can grow to be 60 ft long and can weigh as much as 20 tonnes. The whale shark, despite its vast size, is a gentle monster that feeds on microscopic plankton and small fish.
2: How many species of sharks are there?
To date, more than 400 shark species have been recognized. Scientists believe that there are many more species out there that have yet to be identified.
3: How do sharks hunt?
Sharks hunt via various methods; the great white shark hunts by ambush. They swim towards their prey, then quickly surge forward to attack. Other species, such as the hammerhead shark, use their sensitive electroreceptors to locate their prey. Still, others, such as the tiger shark, use their sense of smell to hunt their prey.
4: How long do sharks live?
The lifespan of a shark varies from specie to specie. Some, such as the spiny dogfish, can live up to 100 years. Others, such as the bull shark, can only live as much as 25 years.
5: How do sharks mate?
Sharks mate in a variety of methods, depending on the species. External fertilization is used by several animals, such as the whale shark. The male shark discharges his sperm into the water, which the female shark consumes via her gills. To fertilize the female’s eggs, the male shark inserts one of his claspers into her reproductive tract.
6: How many babies do sharks have at a time?
The total number of babies a shark has at a time is determined by the species. Some species, such as the whale shark, at a time, have only a few pups. Others, like the blacktip shark, can have up to 20 pups at any given time.
7: Are sharks dangerous to humans?
Some species of sharks are dangerous to humans, while others are not. The great white shark, bull shark, and the infamous tiger shark are known to attack humans, thus, are considered as some most dangerous shark species. However, attacks on humans are relatively rare, as most of the sharks do not pose threat to humans, but rather are safe to swim with.
8: Do sharks have a skeleton made of bone?
No, sharks do not have a skeleton made of bone but of cartilage which is a flexible, rubbery material that is more flexible and lighter in weight than bone. This makes it easier for sharks to swim and maneuver through the water.
9: Do all sharks have teeth?
Yes, all sharks have teeth. Some species of sharks have rows of teeth that are constantly being replaced as they fall out or break off. This allows the shark to always have sharp teeth for hunting and feeding.
10: How do sharks breathe?
Sharks breathe through gills, which help them extract oxygen from the water. As the shark swims, water flows over its gills, and the oxygen is absorbed into its bloodstream.