Sharks have ferocious appetites. Most sharks have to eat 2-3% of their body weight everyday, and warm blooded sharks like Great White Sharks have to eat even more. This makes sharks curious, opportunistic predators with diverse diets. They eat a variety of prey from seabirds to crustaceans to krill. So with so many foreign objects in the water because of human activity, sharks have accidentally eaten some very strange things. Here are the 14 weirdest things sharks have ever eaten:
1. License Plates
Tiger Sharks have been referred to as the “trash cans of the sea.” They are incredible hunters who will eat just about anything. Unfortunately a common item Tiger Sharks eat is license plates. The attraction to license plates may simply be curiousity but it could also be that metal reflects light, which could trick a Tiger Shark into thinking it is prey. The oddest part is fisherman have found a license plate all the way from landlocked Kansas in the stomach of a shark.
Tires have been found in the stomachs of several different species of sharks. In the 1970s, at attempt to create a manmade reef to encourage the growth of wildlife and recycle used tires, a group of activists dumped millions of tires into the Gulf of Mexico. The project was not only a failure but lead to sharks mistake the tires for sea life and eating them.
3. A Suit Of Armor
In the 16th Century, an entire suit of armor was found inside the stomach of a Great White Sharks. As Great White Sharks eat sea mammals, the shark probably thought the man wearing the suit of armor was a seal. In order to eat a whole suit of armor, the shark probably had to gobble it up in one bite. A bad idea, but an impressive feat.
More than once a diver or documentary crew has had their video equipment eaten by a shark. This is understandable as filmmakers tend to monitor sharks during feeding time and stick cameras right in their faces, near their mouths. Under these conditions, sharks can mistake videocameras as an extension of their prey or competition and take a bite.
5. Cannon Ball
In 1823, in the West Indies a shark was caught that had a cannonball in its stomach. It’s possible during the heat of battle the shark got confused and attacked the cannon ball after it was fired. A terrible thing to eat, but it shows how strong sharks are that even with a 6-lb cannon ball in their stomach they can still swim around.
6. Bottle Of Wine
In 1942, a Blue Shark was caught off the coast of France by a fishing boat. When the fisherman butchered the shark, they found a bottle of Portuguese Madeira. Unfortunately, the bottle was intact, so the shark never got enjoy the wine.
7. An Ancient Portuguese Medallion
A woman in Malaysia was filleting a baby shark she bought at a fish market and found a 16th Century Portuguese medallion in its stomach. The inexperienced shark probably mistook the small medallion for prey. The medallion was worn by sailors for good luck, but unfortunately it wasn’t very lucky for the shark.
Another item found in the stomach of a hungry Tiger Shark was a drum. A Tiger Shark caught off the coast of Senegal was found with a set of traditional tom tom drums. The drums may have attracted the attention of the shark because they float and are wrapped in animal skin.
9. Chicken Coop
Off the coast of Florida, a Tiger Shark was found with an entire chicken coop with chickens in its stomach. You can understand how the shark would eat the coop to get to the tasty chickens inside, but what is really baffling is how an entire chicken coop complete with chickens found its way into the ocean.
10. Unopened Cans Of Fish
Both an unopened can of sardines and an unopened can of salmon have been found inside the stomach of a shark. You can definitely understand why a shark would want the contents of the cans, but since sharks don’t have can openers they swallowed them whole.
11. A Wallet
A Florida man’s entire wallet was found inside the stomach of a Tiger Shark. It’s understandable that the shark would be attracted to the leather of the wallet, but the wallet was found without any cash. So it makes us wonder if the shark just found the wallet or ate the evidence after mugging the guy.
12. A Bag Of Money
There was another possible Florida robbery committed by a Tiger Shark. One was caught off the coast of Florida with a bag of money inside its stomach. The bag was half digested, so no one knows how much money was inside the bag or where it came from, but the Tiger Shark definitely has expensive taste.
13. Fur Coat
Speaking of expensive taste. Sharks have been found with fur coats in their stomachs. Why a shark would eat a fur coat is understandable, they probably mistook it for a sea mammal only to end up disappointed when it didn’t contain any meat. What’s curious about this is how people have lost so many fur coats on the beach in the first place.
14. A Porcupine
Sharks eat all kinds of animals, though rarely do they eat land animals except in strange circumstances. Sharks have eaten polar bears, reindeers, dogs, and even snakes, but the weirdest animal a shark ever ate was a porcupine. A Tiger Shark off the coast of Australia was found to have eaten an Echidna, a type of porcupine, spines and all.
Sharks with big appetites like Tiger Sharks and Great White Sharks are curious eaters, and though it’s bizarre to think about all the weird things they have eaten over the years, these things are very dangerous to the shark’s health. These strange meals highlight the need for humans to be more respectful of what they dump in the ocean. Our carelessness harms sharks, so we need to be more conscientious about what we put in the ocean so our waste doesn’t accidentally become a meal.