Sharks, in my opinion, are the most beautiful predators under the sea, but beauty isn’t everything with these majestic creatures; sharks are one of the most intricately designed creatures out there, and here we’ll be going over the top ten most interesting shark facts to show you what I mean.
With more than 450 different recorded species of sharks, they are one of the most diverse animal genres on the planet. They are found in almost every body of salt water, many adaptable only to the warmer waters, though there are some species who prefer cooler waters, such as the Blue shark. Though they are most common in salt water, there are some species who are able to adapt to fresh waters as well, like the Bull shark; however, not all can survive for too long in these habitats, and most have to leave the area after so long, or perish due to it.
1 World’s Biggest Fish
Our first segment for this list of interesting shark facts is about the biggest fish in the world – the Whale shark. This species ranges in length anywhere from 33 to 40 feet (on average about as long as a school bus!) but have also been known to reach a length of 60 feet. They don’t just have all other sharks and fish beat by length, however; they are also similar to whales in girth, the average weight being around 15 to 20 tons – that’s over 30,000 pounds!
2 Oldest Predator
Another one of our interesting shark facts is that sharks are one of the oldest predators still alive, having swum in the ocean over the last 450 million years! That makes them an evolutionary predecessor of the dinosaurs by at least 200 million years, and one of the most advanced predatory creatures because of it. They are one of the only creatures to have survived all 5 mass extinctions to occur due to their versatile design, and have also benefited from a few adaptive radiations, evolving into quite a collection of interesting sharks.
Unlike many other marine creatures that use echolocation – or the locations of objects by reflected sound – sharks rely on body language and electrical pulses to communicate and detect prey. This is how they let each other know if there is available prey or danger, and if you’re ever diving, knowing their body language can be a great way to detect that a shark is feeling uneasy early, so as to not disturb them in their habitat.
4 Not All Apex Predators
Though many associate all sharks as a generality by their big bodies and many rows of sharp, serrated teeth, not all sharks have sharp teeth, and many shark species don’t even really need their teeth. The Whale shark, for example, has filter feeders and have quite a number of tiny teeth to easily feast upon krill, rather than sharp teeth like it’s fellow species of shark such as the Great White shark. One of the other interesting shark facts to go along with this is the fact that sharks can go through as many as 30,000 teeth within their lifetime due to the many rows of primary and replacement teeth they are equipped with.
5 Adaptive Predators
Though sharks of all species tend to live in a warm, salt water habitat, they are not all restricted to that area. Some species, like the Bull shark, are able to adapt enough to live briefly in bodies of fresh water as well, though they typically fare quite poorly within them, or in a mixed environment of fresh and salt water such as estuaries and watersheds which connect to the ocean.
6 Continuous Swimmers
While this is not true for all species, there are some species of shark who will drown if they were to stop moving. This includes species such as the Great White, the Mako, and the Salmon shark; these sharks do not have the muscles required to pump water over their gills. Due to this, constant movement is necessary to keep water filtered through their gills, and one of these sharks stopping would be like a human trying to breath water in the place of oxygen.
7 Not All Hunters Are Solo
While most sharks prefer to hunt alone, there are some species of shark – such as the Blue shark or the Scalloped Hammerhead, that can be found hunting in groups known as “schools,” and often travel great distances this way as well.
8 Worst Temper
One of the most interesting shark facts – and one of the most terrifying – is that Bull sharks aren’t just different due to their ability to survive in fresh water; they are also classified as one of the most dangerous to humans. They don’t move quickly, but they are very strong creatures, and can be quite unpredictable. This species is extremely territorial and has one of the highest testosterone levels of any other creature, making them likely to attack people who’ve strayed into their water.
9 Live Birth
While some species of shark reproduce like their fellow fish – by laying eggs sacs (also known as ‘mermaid purses’) and young hatching from them – most other species of shark are viviparous, meaning they give birth to live children, or pups. This group includes species such as the Bull shark, Lemon shark, Mako, Hammerheads, and the Blue shark.
10 Not Just Predators
While sharks are certainly quite high on the food chain, they also have predators themselves, and not just other sharks and killer whales – us, too. Humans are actually a shark’s biggest predator. According to the Shark Project, an estimated 200 million sharks are killed each year by humans, all for different purposes, such as meat, leather, and even demand for their teeth and dorsal fins.