10 Surprising Shark Facts Will Make You See Them In A Different Light

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Sharks are probably among the world’s most misunderstood animals. Sure, these cold-blooded killers are fierce predators, but, unbeknownst to most, they are not the human-killing, ravenous monsters the media makes them out to be.

In many ways, these ferocious predators are among the most fascinating creatures roaming the seven seas, and after reading a few of these little-known facts about them, we’re sure you’ll have a newfound appreciation for these remarkable animals.

1. They have around 45-50 front teeth

10 Surprising Shark Facts Will Make You See Them In A Different Light

 

Okay, so perhaps telling you that sharks have a lot of teeth isn’t going to endear you to them anytime soon, but isn’t that amazing? Typically, sharks usually possess somewhere between 45 to 50 front teeth alone- But that’s only the half of it.

Behind those gnarly gnashers are replacement rows of teeth, ready to move in and restore any damaged or lost teeth. Considering sharks like a good meal, it isn’t unheard of for your average shark to go through as many as 30,000 teeth in their lifetime.

That’s a lot of trips to the dentist.

2. They are very shy

10 Surprising Shark Facts Will Make You See Them In A Different Light

 

Are sharks really shy? While they may not be timid ocean creatures who hide behind rocks, they are laconic in the literal sense that they make no sounds whatsoever. As they have no vocal chords, they communicate in other ways, hence their often overused nickname, “silent killers.”

To make up for this, sharks respond to visible signals, which include zigzag swimming, head shaking, hunched backs, and headbutts. Pretty cool, right?

3. Their lifespans vary

10 Surprising Shark Facts Will Make You See Them In A Different Light

 

Such is the wide variety of shark species roaming the oceans; their lifespans can range from anywhere between 16 years to over 100. The larger sharks, for instance, tend to live longer, particularly whale sharks, who can surpass the 100-year mark. Others, of around 18 to 32 feet can enjoy similar lifespans while on the opposite end of the spectrum, the smooth dogfish (an incredibly cool name for a shark species) might not live beyond its 16th birthday.

Some whale sharks are thought to have even gone beyond 150 years. However, there is no conclusive evidence to suggest that either of these estimations are accurate, but on average, sharks appear to have similar lifespans to humans.

4.  They are the largest species of fish

10 Surprising Shark Facts Will Make You See Them In A Different Light

 

It seems only fitting that these majestic, yet highly feared aquatic predators are the largest species of fish. The biggest of them all is the whale shark, though the basking shark comes a close second, averaging between 22 and 29 feet.

On the opposite end are Pygmy Ribbontail Catsharks, who, at 6 to 7 inches, are around the size of a tall human. Other small and cute sharks include the Dwarf Lanternfish and the Spined Pygmy Shark. Owing to their size, many people breed them as pets which is rather unfortunate.

5. How they give birth is pretty awesome

10 Surprising Shark Facts Will Make You See Them In A Different Light

 

Sharks giving birth isn’t something you see every day, but it is a unique form of giving life. Depending on the species, some lay egg cases, or “mermaid’s purses” have others have nicknamed them. However, the majority give birth in the ocean, with as many as 48 pups spawned by one litter alone!

Talk about being strong and independent!

6. Sharks are more scared of us than we are of them

10 Surprising Shark Facts Will Make You See Them In A Different Light

 

While you might still be having nightmares from Steven Spielberg’s Jaws, many commercial fishing vessels have little problem catching millions of shark species each year. Some estimates show that for every person killed by a shark, 25 million sharks are killed by us on an annual basis. The majority are caught for their fins to fund an increasing demand for shark fin soup, while others are the result of a “bycatch” in fishing equipment, and are often returned to the ocean dead.

In what has to be one of humankind’s most shameful practices, around 70 to 100 million sharks are killed each year. To put things into perspective, there are now 201 sharks on the “Red List” of endangered species, a list compiled by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). As a crucial part of the ocean’s ecosystem, their mass killing is a constant plague of worry among conservationists which is why projects fighting against this, such as AWARE, are so important.

For more information on a worthy cause that aims to protect sharks and manta rays, click here.

7. They’re probably colorblind

10 Surprising Shark Facts Will Make You See Them In A Different Light

 

Despite many people believing the age-old myth that sharks are attracted to yellow colors, research suggests that they can’t see any color. Somehow, the saying “yum yum yellow” was devised in the hope that swimmers would avoid the color for fear that sharks were more likely to approach swimmers wearing yellow swimsuits.

However, a shark’s eyes have minimal color-sensing cells, meaning they are more likely to be attracted to contrasting colors rather than one particular color alone.

8. More than ocean dwellers

10 Surprising Shark Facts Will Make You See Them In A Different Light

 

While sharks roam all seven of the world’s oceans, they are not confined to them. Other species can thrive in mixed salts and freshwater environments, with estuaries and watersheds that connect to an ocean housing many.

Other species, such as Bull Sharks, can happily roam in completely fresh water.

9. 400m-years-old

10 Surprising Shark Facts Will Make You See Them In A Different Light

 

There are very few species that are as old as Sharks, so much so that they were in existence when dinosaurs ruled the roost. By analyzing fossilized teeth and scales from over 400 million years ago, scientists have a better understanding of what these ancient ancestors looked like and how they existed.

But sharks, as we know them at least, were thought to have formed around 100 million years ago. The sharks of the dinosaur era have most likely all disappeared, aside from the frilled shark (known as a “living fossil”) which has evolved little and is often cited as the best example of what the earliest forms of shark looked like.

10.  Sharks don’t enjoy the taste of human flesh

10 Surprising Shark Facts Will Make You See Them In A Different Light

 

Humans don’t seem to like sharks, and the feeling appears to be mutual. While shark attacks are rare and result in just 4 fatalities every year, humans kill millions of sharks. Of the deaths that do occur, the sharks most likely didn’t enjoy the taste of human flesh. In most case, they take a bite then sim away, unenamoured with the taste.

Sharked out? If not, why not do a bit more research on these ocean giants? There is an endless amount you can learn, and after reading this, we hope you have a newfound respect for these often-misunderstood animals.

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