Let’s face it, in society sharks have a pretty bad reputation. National Shark Awareness Day is to bring light to sharks and look at them in a more positive way. Due to movies and generalized stereotyping, sharks are often feared and seen as dangerous killers. In fact, sharks are most often the victim and are killed due to the high demand of their fins, which has led to illegal fishing and depleting shark populations around the world. Sharks are so important to healthy marine ecosystems and we hope you all take the time to learn about this fascinating creature and their benefit to our oceans.
Shark Week starts July 22nd on the Discovery Channel, and they’re bringing 22 specials about these misunderstood predators for the 30th anniversary of Shark Week. Here are some interesting facts and common myths (debunked) about sharks!
FACT! Sharks live in every ocean on the planet
Sharks can be found in all five of our oceans. Some can even be found in freshwater lakes and rivers. For example, the bull shark is known to travel great distances up the Amazon River.
MYTH! Shark attacks happen often
Shark attacks happen less frequently than most people would think. In 2017 there were 5 shark related deaths compared to the 100 million sharks killed by people annually. Humans are definitely not shark’s first choice for dinner, their typical diet includes fish or invertebrates such as clams or squid.
FACT! An average great white shark has 40-45 teeth in up to seven rows
They also lose teeth regularly and can go through 30,000 teeth in their lifetime! No one has been able to officially calculate this number, but we know they have a LOT of teeth, can lose up to 19 a week and live up to 30 years. That’s a lot of teeth!
MYTH! ALL sharks are large with lots of teeth!
Following up with our previous fact, there are over 400 species of sharks that come in a variety of different shapes and sizes! For example, a whale shark has a very small amount of teeth and are filter feeders similar to a manta ray. The smallest shark is the dwarf lantern that only grows to six inches, the largest is the whale shark that grows to a whopping 41.5 feet in length.
FACT! Sharks do not have vocal cords
Because of this they cannot make any sounds! Also why they are known as “silent killers.”
MYTH! Sharks are not important to marine life
As an apex predator, sharks play an important role in ecosystems and maintain the balance of sea life. Many species sit at the top of the food chain while keeping other species below them in check. Some sharks feed on the sick and weak, which helps prey populations to stay healthy as well as keeping the balance with competitors to ensure species diversity.
FACT! Great white sharks eat a TON of food....actually TONS
They can eat up to 11 TONS of food per year!! Although, they can go a whole 3 months straight without eating.
We could keep this list going forever with the amount of intriguing facts sharks have to offer. We hope you all continue to raise awareness for sharks and learn about their importance to our oceans. Don’t miss Shark Week on the Discovery Channel starting July 22nd!
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