The magnificent creatures of the ocean are often portrayed as giant beasts and are titled as man killers. Talking about none other than the rulers of the aquatic creatures, the sharks. Inhabiting the world’s oceans for millions of years, sharks are easily identified due to their large body size, weight, and structure. Being marine creatures, the main course of their diet would surely be the fishes but owing to the strength, power, and capabilities of sharks, makes people ponder how do sharks eat and what kind of fish do sharks eat.
Sharks are among the fascinating creatures of the sea, and it brings more amazement the more you learn about them. In all aspects, be it their size, colors, shape, or behavior, every characteristic of sharks is surprising in its own way. No wonder why hundreds and thousands of tourists around the world head to the beaches and shark-infested waters to experience the thrill and amusement of being with sharks.
However, at the same time, people thought that the sharks were too aggressive to be near and they would eat humans if they got a chance. But when we look at the shark’s diet, we find out that humans are not on their menu lists. Moreover, sharks are not as aggressive as they are portrayed.
Secondly, there are over 500 species of sharks dwelling in the waters, and all are different in terms of size as well as behavior. There are sharks larger than 50 feet, and there are smaller sharks that can fit in your palm. Likewise, only a handful of sharks, such as the great white, tiger, and bull sharks, are among the most aggressive. Other than that, most sharks are unlikely to attack humans, and they avoid confrontation at their best. The species even have some of the nicest sharks as well, and many of them can be kept as pets.
As sharks are marine creatures and cannot survive out of the water, they eat what is available to them underwater. The main element of sharks’ diet is the fish which are present in huge quantities in almost all oceans of the world.
We all know that sharks have hundreds of teeth, and depending on the species, their shapes are different. The great white, for example, have serrated razor-sharp pointed teeth capable of tearing apart anything that comes in between their jaws. The whale sharks, on the other hand, have tiny teeth and play no role as such in eating as they mainly feed on plankton.
As said earlier, each species of shark have their own food preferences, and it is the mouth that has the main role to play. The Shark tongue is also significant in this regard.
Fish are the creatures eaten by almost all sharks. Small sharks feed on smaller fishes, whereas large sharks feed on larger fishes. Thus, below we are going to see how they eat and what kind of fishes the sharks prefer.
How do sharks eat?
When it comes to eating behavior, all sharks portray different capabilities based on their type. Every species has its own set of teeth adapted to its specific diet. As a result of their teeth, they are able to hold, bite, and then slice their prey using their lower jaw and upper jaw, respectively. A predator’s teeth may be serrated or smooth, and they are mostly used for grabbing, cutting, or crushing prey. It is projected that sharks can have more than 20,000 teeth in their lifetime, as they shed their teeth continuously.
Knowing this, what role do teeth play in eating? In most cases, sharks swallow their food whole without chewing it, so there is no major role of teeth comes into play. In some sharks, however, the back teeth are used for grinding the prey. On the other hand, a few sharks are filter feeders and use suction to forage. The angel shark and wobbegong are some species that use camouflage to restrain prey and ambush it. As bottom dwellers, their upper jaws are used to grab prey items.
Predators like the great white swallow small prey whole or chew up large animals like bears and wolves into pieces. With their thick lips, nurse sharks create suction, allowing them to pick up their prey from crevices and holes. A cookie-cutter shark eats larger fish and mammals by slicing them up into pieces.
In addition to being cooperative feeders, sharks like the whitetip reef shark may circle their prospective prey and even bump it with their pectoral fins as a form of detection. Different hunting techniques can be adopted by different species.
Reading the details, it’s clear that eating anything from large mammals to smaller creatures is not a problem for sharks. Even some sharks are found to be eating inedible objects.
Just like the species have over 500 different types, so are the fish. Fishes are widespread across all oceans and come in varying varieties, shapes, sizes, and colors. Let’s find out the type of fish sharks prey on.
What kind of fish do sharks eat?
Most sharks are carnivores, and their food preferences include a broader range of aquatic creatures, including fish, crustaceans, sea lions, turtles, dolphin seals, and many others. When it comes to fishes, there are hundreds of types dwelling in the waters, and not all types may be a preferred choice for sharks to eat.
Anyways, let’s look out for the kind of fishes sharks like to consume.
- All different kinds of bony fishes, including tuna and Atlantic mackerel
- Spiny dogfish
- Sea bass
The list doesn’t end here, as sharks can also eat just about any animal in the ocean. From small sea creatures to large ones, none can give competition to the top predators except the Orcas. Other than that, any sea animal can be a target of sharks based on their type. Wanna check out what some famous sharks consume? Click on the names below and find out.
- Basking sharks
- Mako sharks
- Tiger sharks
- Red tail sharks
- Leopard sharks
Sharks are top predators and can take on any animal they want; however, depending on the species, the diet can vary. Along with many other aquatic creatures, fishes are believed to be the main component of a shark’s diet. Though sharks can take on any fish they want, largely, they like to feed on bony fish, blue fish, and others, as mentioned above.
By consuming a variety of fishes, sharks keep the population in balance, providing you the healthy blue oceans.