Cool Facts about Sharks You Might Not Have Known

20 Great White Shark Facts

  1. Their scientific name is ‘Carcharodon carcharias’
    1. A species of large lamniform shark.
  2. Other names include ‘White Death, Great Pointer, White Shark
  3. Mature Great Whites reach upwards of 21ft in length, with an approximate weight limit of 7,000lb
    1. The females of the species are larger than the males.
  4. These top end measurements are based off of the largest Great White ever recorded, caught off the coast of Cuba in 1945
    1. While controversy surround the accuracy of these measurements, the photo reveals just how huge this specimen was.
  5. The are considered the fourth largest shark known to us
    1. Just behind the whale shark, basking shark and mega mouth shark.
  6. Their light grey upper body and all white lower half is known as ‘counter shading’
    1. From above, the Great White resembles the murky depths below, and from below, it resembles the light from the surface.
  7. They have triangular, serrated teeth
    1. They number around 3,000 in total, with multiple rows ready to replace those that are broken or fall out.
  8. The are composed of nearly pure muscle, with very little fat
    1. Like all sharks, their skeleton is made up of cartilage as opposed to bone.
  9. They store fat in their liver for emergency use
    1. For example, traveling long distances without eating.
  10. Their ‘Ampullae of Lorenzini’ is used to detect electromagnetic waves in the ocean
    1. It consists of a network of pores specialized in detecting electricity. Every living thing emits electromagnetic waves to some extent.
  11. They are solitary hunters
    1. But they are known to coexist within active hunting and breeding grounds.
  12. They use ‘spy hopping’ to look above the ocean for prey
    1. While rare, this involves the shark breaking the surface to observe above water. Researchers suggest they may also do this to smell for prey.
  13. Great Whites ‘breach’ when attacking prey
    1. They charge prey from below at up to 25mph, breaking the surface and launching up to 10ft into the air.
  14. As of 2012, 272 unprovoked attacks on humans have been recorded
    1. There is no evidence to suggest humans have been hunted by a great white. Attacks usually involve an investigatory bite, or ‘test bite’, in an attempt to figure out what the human being is.
  15. They are carnivorous 
    1. Preying on nearly any fish in the ocean, seals, whale carcasses and even other sharks.
  16. Great Whites can be found in every ocean and sea across the world
    1. They often stay close to coastal shelves, preferring to hunt just off the coastline.
  17. The reproduction process is still shrouded in mystery
    1. They reach reproductive maturity at 15 years, and hatch their eggs internally, giving birth once the pups are strong enough.
  18. Great White pups are oophagous
    1. Meaning they will eat the weaker eggs while gestating
  19. They give birth at specific breeding grounds
    1. Though little is known about there these are located
  20. They have anywhere between 1-5 pups, around 1ft long and weighing 5kg. 
    1. Theorized to take a year off between births.

Carcharocles Megalodon Shark Facts

  1. The Megalodon is an extinct species of shark from the Cenozoic Era, living approximately 1.5 to 2.6 million years ago
  2. At an estimated length of 45 – 60 ft. long, it is the largest prehistoric shark to have ever existed
  3. They are believed to have weighed as much as 100 tonnes
  4. Huge 7 inch teeth have been recovered from across the globe, a true testament to their sheer size
  5. They are considered to have the most powerful bite of any creature that ever lived
  6. This powerful bite proved more devastating than efficient when it came to feeding
  7. Megalodon feasted on prehistoric whales, dolphins, fish and giant turtles
  8. It could easily swallow a person whole

Tiger Shark Facts

  1. Tiger Sharks are known as ‘The Wastebaskets of the sea’ as they are known to eat anything such as floating garbage (including licence plates!).
  2. Along with the great white and bull shark, they are one of the 3 species that are mostly responsible for attacks on humans.
  3. Because of their extremely broad diet, they are more likely to continue attacking humans after the initial strike, unlike the great white which is a much more fussy eater.
  4. They are the fourth largest species of shark.
  5. As tiger sharks mature, their stripes become less prominent, almost disappearing completely.
  6. They can grow up to 14ft and weigh up to 1,400lbs.
  7. Tiger sharks tend to me more active at dusk or night.
  8. They are found almost worldwide in tropical and warm coastal regions.
  9. Their Jaws are capable of cracking the shels of sea turtles and clams.

Whale Shark Facts

  1. The Whale Shark is the largest known fish
    1. The biggest ever was caught near Baba Island, Pakistan and measured 41.5ft, and weighed 21.5 tonnes.
  2. Their markings are unique to each individual
    1. Just like our fingerprints! It makes identification much easier.
  3. Their diet consists of plankton such as krill, and occasionally small fish or crustaceans
    1. Circling the surface with their mouth wide open usually indicates high levels of food in the water
  4. Feeding consists of ‘vacuum’ immense amount of water and filtering out the microscopic plankton
    1. A special sieve-like apparatus along the gill rakers traps everything but water
  5. Whale Sharks have lots of minute teeth but they serve no purpose during feeding
    1. They pose no danger to humans
  6. They are solitary animals
    1. Though have been observed congregating in large numbers during feeding
  7. Cruising at low speeds for long periods of time allows them to travel great distances
    1. They have been known to migrate across the globe for long periods of time
  8. Australia is the most common location for spotting Whale Sharks
    1. They can be found in warm and tropical seas around areas such as India, Belize, South Africa, Mexico and more
  9. They reach sexual maturity at 30 years
    1. Whale Sharks are ovoviviparous, meaning their eggs hatch internally before giving birth to pups
  10. Whale Sharks are currently vulnerable 
    1. Threats a predominantly human related, being hunted for the fins, skin, meat and oil

50 Interesting Facts about Sharks

  1. Sharks live in every ocean on the planet.
  2. Sharks have eight orders of classification depending on their physical characteristics.
  3. Sharks are cartilaginous. What makes sharks different from fish is that their skeletons are made of cartilage instead of bone.
  4. Sharks are also different from bony fish because they have eyelids.
  5. Another thing that makes sharks different from fish is their scales. Sharks have dermal denticles also called placoid scales, which are smooth and help them move quickly through the water. Fish have flat, rough scales.
  6. Unlike fish, sharks can only swim forward. That is because their fins are stiff and cannot be controlled by muscles.
  7. Sharks stay buoyant because of their light weight cartilage skeletons. They also have really oily livers which helps them stay balanced in deeper waters.
  8. An average shark has 40-45 teeth in up to seven rows. Sharks lose teeth regularly and can go through 30,000 teeth in their lifetime.
  9. Sharks have been living in Earth’s oceans for 450 million years.
  10. The smallest shark is the dwarf lantern that is only grows to six inches and the largest is the whale shark that grows to a whopping 41.5 feet in length.
  11. The largest shark to ever live was the massive Megalodon that averaged 50 feet in length. Don’t worry though, these terrifying sharks have been extinct for 16 million years.
  12. The oldest known species of living shark in the goblin shark that has been around for 120 million years. The second oldest is the frilled shark that has been around for 80 million years.
  13. You can measure the age of a shark by counting the rings on its vertebrae.
  14. Most sharks never sleep because they have to constantly pump water through their mouth over their gills to breath or they will die.
  15. Sharks have an amazing sense of hearing. They can hear prey up to 3000 feet away. Their ears are actually located inside of their heads.
  16. Scientists think sharks may be color blind. However, they have eyes similar to cats and can see better in dark and murky waters than other fish.
  17. Sharks eyes are located on the sides of their heads to give them a wider view of their surroundings.
  18. Some sharks living in frigid waters can heat their eyes with a special organ in their eye socket so they can hunt more efficiently regardless of the temperatures.
  19. Sharks living deep in the water tend to have light color eyes to help them attract more light, while sharks living closer to the surface have darker colored eyes to shield them from the light.
  20. Sharks rely on electroreception to navigate the ocean and notice prey.
  21. Sharks can move both their lower and upper jaws.
  22. Sharks whip their prey around back and forth in order to break off large chunks of meat.
  23. Sharks have the thickest skin of any animal species. Some sharks have skin that is 6 inches thick.
  24. Sharks have the largest brains of any fish.
  25. Sharks communicate through body language. Some common communications involve zigzag swimming, head shaking, hunched backs, and head butts.
  26. Sharks do not have vocal cords, so they make no sounds. That is why they are known as the “silent killers.”
  27. Large sharks live longer than smaller sharks.
  28. Size also determines where a shark hunts. Smaller sharks tend to hunt along the ocean floor, while larger sharks hunt in the middle and by the surface.
  29. Sharks have few natural predators. Killer whales, seals, crocodiles, and larger sharks will occasionally eat sharks. The biggest threat to sharks is humans.
  30. Sharks have been known to reproduce assexually. This is known as parthenogenesis and has been documented in a variety of different species.
  31. One of the most common ways sharks mate is by biting each other.
  32. The youngest species of sharks are the hammerheads, which evolved on 20 million years ago.
  33. Some species of sharks are carnivorous in the womb. The first tiger shark pup to hatch will eat its siblings.
  34. Most female sharks will lose their appetites before giving birth. This is a biologically trigger to prevent them from eating their own pups.
  35. Frilled sharks have the longest gestation period. They are pregnant for 3 and a half years.
  36. Bull sharks can live in both fresh and saltwater.
  37. Nurse sharks are the laziest sharks. They rarely migrate and eat less than most sharks. They also do not need to move to breath like other sharks.
  38. Most sharks hunt alone. However some species like scalloped hammerhead sharks hunt in packs.
  39. Basking sharks also rarely travel alone. Typically they travel in pairs but have been seen in schools of 100.
  40. Great white sharks eat an average of 11 tons of food a year. Though they can go as long as three months without eating.
  41. Great whites can jump out of the water up to ten feet to catch their prey. This is done to beat the competition for food.
  42. Blue sharks are the most endangered species on the planet. Blue sharks are highly coveted for their fins used in shark fin soup.
  43. Lantern sharks use bio-luminescence making them glow in the dark. They use this trick to attract mates and confuse their prey.
  44. Angel sharks can ambush their prey in one-tenth of one second.
  45. Thresher sharks use their tails to slap their prey to death.
  46. Bamboo sharks don’t swim. They use four different fins to walk across the ocean floor.
  47. Sixgill sharks can have litters of 100 pups.
  48. Shark attacks are extremely rare and account for four fatalities every single year worldwide.
  49. Humans kill 100 million sharks a year. That means for every single person killed by a shark, humans kill 25 million sharks
  50. Most sharks do not like the taste of humans, so they most often just take a bite and swim away disinterested.

Shark Facts Video