Behemoth angry beasts of the underwater realm, or just misunderstood? Sharks have always been fascinating creatures, and these facts about sharks will make you appreciate how smart these fish can be. Their sheer size, strength, and all those razor-sharp teeth are what nightmares are made of. They can be found in all saltwater seas in depths up to 2,000 meters. There are even a few species of shark that can live in freshwater.
For the most part, sharks are scared of humans and do not go out of their way to attack them. One of the most important shark facts to remember is that the instances of provoked attacks (divers bitten after harassing or trying to touch sharks, attacks on spear fishers, people bitten while attempting to feed sharks etc) always outnumber the unprovoked shark attacks. Many shark populations are actually at risk of extinction because of human activity such as pollution and overfishing. So who is attacking who?
10 Incredible Facts About Sharks
- When it comes to shark teeth, they are not actually attached to the jaw but rather fixed in the gums; allowing the fish to replace its teeth multiple times throughout life. (source) You can think of it like a conveyor belt with numerous rows of replacement teeth that grow inside the shark’s jaw. Some sharks lose 30,000 or more teeth in their lifetime.
- Shark attacks are still very rare. (source) With the millions of people who visit beaches and swim in the ocean every year, the most shark encounters ever recorded have been in Volusia County, Florida. Typically, Florida sees between 11-30 attacks a year, and from 2011-2020 none of those attacks were fatal. There have been a total of 320 shark attacks ever recorded in Florida.
- Sharks have pretty good eyesight, but they can only see in black and white. (source) They are drawn to high contrast areas and is the reason you should not wear any shiny jewelry or clothing when you are swimming in the ocean.
- Shark skin feels a lot like sandpaper. (source) It is made of tiny and pointy tooth-like structures called dermal denticles that allow the shark to swim streamlined through the water.
- Some sharks can enter a trance called tonic immobility if they are flipped upside down. (source) Some scientists believe it is a helpful tool for mating and also avoiding or tricking predators.
- The earliest evidence of shark fossils date back 450 million years to the Late Ordovician Period. (source)
- There are over 400 different species of sharks around the world. (source)
- Sharks do not have bones in their bodies; instead they have cartilage. (source) This allows sharks to be lighter and more flexible, but still super-strong and powerful.
- Sharks have a 6th sense.(source) It’s called the Ampullae of Lorenzini which can detect electrical currents and aid them in navigation and hunting prey.
- Sharks have the longest confirmed gestation period of any vertebrate. (source) They can be pregnant for up to 2 years!