Sharks, for the most part, get a pretty bad rep due to their terrifying appearance and killer instincts. However, as many are now aware, sharks do not intentionally eat humans, in fact, sharks don’t even like the taste of us because of our salt percentage!
Anyway, enough about bad-mouthing sharks, we’re here today to divulge some of the most startling and interesting shark facts for you. So, without further ado, let’s dive in and take a look at our 7 shark facts!
7. Size Doesn’t Matter
I’m sure many of you have heard of the whale shark, mainly because it’s the biggest shark in the ocean! They measure up to around 14m in length and can weigh up to a colossal 21 . Of course, we can’t talk about size without mentioning the basking shark, being the second biggest fish in the world. These creatures reach 10 long in comparison.
The smallest shark currently on record is the lantern shark, which is just 20cm in length!
6. One of the Oldest on Earth
Believe it or not, sharks have been traversing the depths of our oceans for over 400 million years. They pre-date the dinosaurs by almost 200 million years and have inhabited Earth’s oceans 30 million years longer than trees have been around! Not to mention that’s a giant 399.9 million years before modern humans appeared.
Speaking about age, sharks are on the higher end of the age spectrum, with their lifespan ranging from anywhere between 25-100 years. In fact, the frilled shark (a term for the most common shark species) has mostly remained the same for over 150 million years. Why is this? The short answer is because they haven’t had to adapt, they’ve always been phenomenal predators and killing machines.
The longest-living shark on record was the female Greenland shark, recording an incredible 392 years of age. This made the Greenland shark the longest living vertebrate species on record!
5. Sharks Sink…
Yes, you heard that right, sharks sink.
Well, technically they’re deemed ‘negatively buoyant’ meaning that if they were to stop moving, they’d simply sink. This is because of their cartilaginous skeleton which reduces their body weight, while a fatty liver helps adjust their buoyancy.
Their fins act as hydrofoils (think of them as wings to an airplane) helping them glide through the water as an airplane would in the sky.
4. Pregnant Virgin Sharks?
Yes, another slightly weird fact, female sharks are able to get pregnant without actually mating with a partner. These are called parthenogenic births, which were first documented in blacktip sharks, zebra sharks and the sharks (small hammerheads) though, this birthing technique has also been documented in other species of shark.
Sharks have an incredible array of senses around their noses, which allows them to sense almost everything within the water (most importantly, the electric changes in the sea water). This is what makes them such efficient hunters, by noticing the changes in the current, they’re able to pinpoint where their next meal is.
Their most infamous skill is being able to detect blood. I’m sure many of you have seen Jaws, or will at least know how sensitive sharks are to the scent of blood. Blood causes tiny changes in the electric conductivity of the water, which when paired with the shark’s extortionary sense of smell, spells trouble for any that have stubbed their toe on a piece of coral.
1. The Shark Trade Needs to Stop
Seriously, this needs to stop and fast. As I mentioned at the start of the article, shark attacks are very rare, with only a small number being recorded every year. However, as people are probably aware, over 100 million sharks are killed by humans each year, mostly for food, specifically their fins. Sometimes their capture and slaughter is due to unintentional industrial scale fishing. However, the worst crime remains the capturing and slaughtering of sharks for shark fin soup. It is a barbaric act which is supposed to highlight a person’s wealth and status.
Hopefully this list left you with a different perception of sharks! The most important message to takeaway is that these are magnificent creatures and ones that we should respect and persevere to keep safe from poachers and rogue fishermen. Do you know any alternative shark facts? If so, we’d love to hear what you have to say in the comments below!