Shark Facts

Is a shark a mammal, a reptile, or a fish?

These are common misunderstandings about sharks. No, a shark is not a mammal like whales, nor is it a reptile like alligators. A shark is actually a fish!


 

How many bones does a shark’s skeleton have?

That’s a trick question – the answer is none! Sharks are cartilaginous fish , meaning that their skeletons are made entirely of cartilage (the same squishy material that is found in our human nose and ears).


 

What is the biggest shark?

What Shortfin Mako Sharks have in speed, the Whale Shark has in size. Perfectly named, a Whale Shark can grow to be as large as a school bus! In case you’ve blocked out having to ride one or they don’t have them in your neck of the world, school buses can be up to 37ft in length. Since most facts about sharks are typically reserved for the well known Great White Shark, let’s compare. They can grow 10 inches a year until they reach 12 to 14 feet. It’s easy to see that there is no comparison to the Whale Shark when it comes to length.


 

What is the smallest shark?

At only 15 cm long (6″), the tiniest species is the dwarf lantern shark. It could fit into the palm of your hand.


 

What shark is most common?

The ocean whitetip is the most common: this large shark is numerous in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. When you’re talking about smaller sharks, the spiny dogfish is the most common. It inhabits the North Atlantic in the millions.


 

How fast can the fastest shark swim?

The Shortfin Mako Shark is the fastest species of shark to date and can swim up to 65mph (over 100kph)! I’m sure I don’t need to point out that any shark will out swim you, but knowing there’s at least one that can reach a speed limit for cars is very impressive!

Speed Of The Shortfin Mako Shark


 

Can sharks smell?

Yes, amazingly well. Their sense of smell is so powerful that sharks can detect a blood drop in an Olympic-sized pool.


 

How many teeth are in a shark’s mouth?

That depends on the species. Some sharks have only a few dozen teeth, while some can have thousands! The whale shark might win the prize, with up to 3,000 teeth, although they are relatively tiny. Did you know that sharks are constantly shedding their teeth?


 

Which shark has the biggest teeth?

The prehistoric Megalodon was the largest shark to have ever lived, and its teeth could grow up to seven inches long. Relative to body size, the Cookiecutter Shark has the largest teeth. This species is rather small, but it uses the large teeth in its round mouth to take cookie-sized bites from the flesh of larger marine creatures, like dolphins.


 

How strong is a shark’s bite?

Unbelievably, a shark bite can generate up to 40,000 pounds of pressure per square inch.


 

How much do sharks eat in a day?

Some sharks seem to eat all the time. For example, the Great White Shark is always on the hunt: in a year it eats 11 tons of food! (An average person eats more like half a ton of food per year). The Blue Shark is a glutton: it will eat until it regurgitates, and then go right back to eating. Most sharks eat a meal every couple of days. If necessary, though, they can go for a few weeks without eating. Like people and most other animals, sharks can store extra energy as fat, for use later when food is limited.


 

What are a shark’s main predators?

We humans are hands-down the biggest danger to sharks. People are responsible for killing millions of sharks each year. Other animals that have been known to eat sharks include killer whales, crocodiles, seals, and even larger sharks.


 

Will sharks drown if they stop swimming?

Yes, some sharks need to swim continuously to stay alive. Sharks obtain oxygen for breathing from the water that flows over their gills. If they stop swimming, no more water flow means no more oxygen, so breathing stops. However some bottom-dwelling sharks have adaptations for breathing even while they are still on the sea floor. For example, carpet sharks and some other species have spiracles behind their eyes that aid with breathing.


 

Written By: Kara Lefevre

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