Sharks are a dreaded predator, at the top of the food chain, like us. For humans, they are fascinating and horrific. However, they are also beautiful, diverse, intelligent creatures, and as essential to the ocean’s ecosystem as plankton, whales, coral reefs and pteropods. In honor of shark week, which begins August 12, we’ve put together a list of perhaps 12 little-known facts about sharks.
1.- They have been dominating the aquatic world for over 300 million years.
2.- Sharks are shy. (!!) Probably because sharks are loners. As soon as they are born, shark pups fend for themselves.
3.- There are 350 different types of sharks known to mankind. However, scientists believe there may be others that we have not yet discovered.
4.- A shark doesn’t have a single bone in its body, however, has a skeleton made up of cartilage.
5.- The majority of sharks live for about 25 years; however, some sharks can live up to 100 years.
6.- A shark’s hunger can be gratified with one good meal. Since sharks use little energy to swim, their meal lasts for long time. Some sharks can hold food in their stomachs, without being digested. If they have a big meal, it can last for 3 or more months.
7.- Some sharks lay eggs, while majority of them give birth to babies. Some shark species, like the Hammerhead and the Tiger shark, can give birth to 40 babies at a time, while the others can give birth to 6-12.
8.- Nearly all kinds of sharks can swim up to 20-40 miles per hour. The Mayo shark and the Blue shark are believed to be capable of swimming at more than 60 miles per hour.
9.- The Whale shark weighs about 90,000 pounds. It is known to be the biggest fish in the world.
10.- A shark’s teeth are usually replaced every week. In fact, some species of sharks shed about 30,000 teeth in their life span.
11.- People fear sharks because they hear stories about killing humans. However, most of the sharks are actually not dangerous.
12.- For every human killed by a shark, humans kill 2 million sharks.
Sources: Iloveindia.com “Information about sharks”; facts-about.org.uk “Facts about sharks”.