How Much Do Sharks Eat?

You have seen mostly in the films or documentaries that sharks are often rendered as ruthless predators but the reality lies far away from it as sharks are the most productive hunters of the seas and ocean. As sharks are the top predators of the food chain and giant animals, they have a ravenous appetite and eat a wide range of food – from marine mammals to algae in fact all forms of living species of ocean are prey to sharks. But the questions like how much sharks eat and what particular food they prefer to eat, still needs an explanation. So let’s take a look at sharks diet chart and explore their feeding habitat!

What food do sharks eat?

Well, the feeding mechanism of sharks varies from species to species, some sharks swallow their prey without even chewing it whereas others may grind their prey with their sharp teeth, some sharks are also filter feeders – they first grasp the prey and tear them up with their teeth. If you take into an account the number of sharks, most of them are carnivores and efficient hunters that eats turtles, squid, fishes, mollusks, octopus and seals whereas other feeds on planktons, various species of shrimp, krill, algae, small copepods and their larvae and barnacles.

As sharks are the apex predator of the food chain so the diet they follow must be important for regulating the species living below them. The habitat of the sharks plays a very important role in defining the type of prey available to them. Moreover, sharks sometimes adapt random diets for their survival as some species favour specific types of food but when the food is out of stock, they compensate for their eating habits and eat whatever is available to them. Although sharks are not very choosy about their food, even some species of sharks eat other items like oil, trash, coal or clothes when they are scarce.

How much does a shark eat?

It looks like you think that sharks eat a lot to maintain themselves and to gain enough energy to live a hard life in the ocean water. You guessed it wrong! Shockingly, sharks do not eat a lot in fact they consume only 0.5 to 10% of their total body weight just in a week. Stunned! Yes that’s true, they eats only one meal and fulfils their necessities and split their meal into two meals as sharks requires a lot of time to completely digest their food, so when they are not eating anything they eventually get energy by breaking down the food reserves live on the oil stored in their liver when they feed.

Furthermore, some studies show that sharks are cold blooded animals – have low circulation of blood, so the digestion of food and burning out of energy takes place at very low speed. That’s the reason why sharks don’t eat as much as most people think they would!

Many species of sharks undergo evolutionary changes only to live better and eat everything essential for healthy living and to reproduce successfully.

Per day how much food do sharks have?

The amount of food sharks consumes depends upon the capacity of sharks, on an average, a young sharks can eat about 46 pounds of food in a day whereas the adult sharks eats about 0.5 to 10% of their body weight once in a week, a sharks of 100 pounds weigh requires around 3 to 4 pounds of food in a day. There are about 500 species of sharks living in the aquatic and marine ecosystem and have different dietary requirements, so one cannot estimate the exact amount of food do sharks eat in a day!

How many calories do sharks intake in a day?

Again! Depends on species! According to an estimate a complete mature shark can intake 6,721 of calories in a day and drink around 614,000 litres of water in an hour.  The researchers further depicted that sharks may follow the pioneer methods of feeding in future!

Bottom line

All species of sharks living in the oceans all over the world have different diets including seals, small sharks, planktons, turtles and small sharks. Some feed by chewing their prey with their teeth, and some are filter feeders whereas others engulf their prey without even chewing it. Most importantly, the digestion occurs at very slow speed in sharks so they eat probably once a week. This is all about the feeding actions of sharks! If you want to know more about sharks, why don’t you have the eating competition with them and see who wins the race!

About the author


I am a Scholar and a dedicated content writer. I am on a mission to stamp out the importance of one of the ocean's most fascinating and remarkable creatures, the sharks, and to let people know about their role in keeping the ecosystem in equilibrium.