10 Interesting Shark Facts To Curb Your Curiosity

Did you know sharks have a sixth sense? 🤯

shark jumping out of the water

If you’re a Shark Week fan, you might be looking for all the shark content you can get.

Luckily, we’re here to help. We put together a list of 10 shark facts that will satisfy your curiosity about these fish.

Here are 10 interesting shark facts

two hammerhead sharks swimming
Alex Rush/Shutterstock.com

1. There are over 400 species of sharks

From the most well-known types of sharks, like hammerheads and great white sharks, to ones you may have never heard of, like goblin sharks and basking sharks, there are over 400 species of sharks! Some even have unique patterns, like leopard sharks and zebra sharks.

2. Sharks have a sixth sense

Sharks have a sixth sense (and no, that doesn’t mean they can read your mind). They’re able to sense electromagnetic fields and changes in water temperature, which allows them to find food. They do this using electroreceptive sensory organs on their heads and snouts called the ampullae of Lorenzini.

3. Sharks can’t stop moving

Some types of sharks, like great whites, whale sharks and mako sharks, will die if they stop swimming. To get oxygen from water, they swim with their mouths open, pushing water through their gills. If they stop moving, they won’t be able to get water (and oxygen) into their mouths.

There are some sharks who do actually stop swimming sometimes, though. Nurse sharks and tiger sharks, for example, can rest on the ocean floor. They use buccal pumping to breathe, which means inhaling water into their mouths and over their gills.

4. Shark teeth are pretty amazing

Sharks have two types of teeth: working teeth and growing teeth. Their teeth are arranged in multiple rows so when a working tooth (the kind they use on a daily basis) falls out, it can be quickly replaced by a tooth behind it. Sharks also lose teeth all the time because worn-down or broken teeth will make them less effective at hunting and eating.

Shark teeth are also super sharp. Sharks are carnivores, which means they only eat meat, and sharp teeth, like human canine teeth on either side of your front incisors, are used for breaking down meat.

5. Some types of sharks are super small

You might think of sharks as being huge fish, but some sharks are pretty small. For example, the dwarf lanternshark, the smallest type of shark, is only about the size of your hand!

6. Some sharks are warm-blooded

You may have heard that sharks, like most fish, are cold-blooded (ectothermic), and that’s true for most types of sharks. But there are actually some sharks who are warm-blooded, or endothermic, such as great whites. Warm-blooded sharks are able to regulate their own body temperatures, allowing them to swim faster (approximately 1.6 times faster than cold-blooded fish). This gives them a competitive advantage when hunting prey.

shark jumping out of the water

7. Sharks are older than dinosaurs

Sharks have been around for around 400 million years! They’ve survived five mass extinctions. For reference, the first dinosaurs appeared on Earth around 200 million years ago.

8. The whale shark is the largest fish on Earth

Whale sharks are bigger than any other living fish. Whale sharks can grow to be up to 40 feet long and weigh around 11 tons.

9. Sharks don’t have any bones

Sharks are elasmobranchs, which means they don’t have bones — their bodies are made of cartilage, the material your ears and nose are made of. Other elasmobranchs include rays, skates and sawfish.

10. Some types of sharks are endangered

Around one in four species of sharks are currently threatened with extinction. The number of sharks is decreasing due to humans overfishing for sharks and damage to their habitats from human activity and pollution. Oceans are also heating up from climate change, making many areas too hot for sharks. This is causing them to migrate into different areas, leading to decreased populations of other fish (which are their prey) and ultimately upsetting ecosystems as a result. This can also be dangerous to people, since sharks may migrate into areas where they could come into closer contact with humans.

Here are some steps you can take to help sharks (and the oceans’ ecosystems):

Sharks are incredible (I mean, they’ve outlived dinosaurs!), and they’re vital to our oceans’ ecosystems, so it’s important for humans to try to protect them and their habitats.

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