Sharks are ancient animals. They’ve been on earth for at least 420 million years. The shark is the largest fish in the sea.
Sharks, unlike most fish, don’t have bones, but cartilage, which is a soft, sinewy substance.
They have several rows of teeth and might have as many as 3,000 teeth in their mouth at one time. When one tooth falls out, another one moves forward to replace it.
Sharks have very good senses. Sometimes a shark is called “a swimming nose”, for its great sense of smell. They can smell blood from miles away.
A shark also has a remarkable sensitivity to vibrations in the water. It can feel the movements made by other animals that are hundreds of feet away.
Sharks are picky eaters. They often take one bite of something before they decide to go in for the kill. This is why they often swim away after “tasting” a human. One good meal can help a shark last up to four months.
There are around 440 species of shark. Let’s see some of the most famous species.
The Great White Shark
Probably the best-known species of shark is the great white. This is believed to be the most dangerous type of shark in the world. People have been able to see them as they are among the rare species that do raise their heads out of the water.
Great white sharks can grow up to 16 feet and weight around 680-910 kgs. More people have been attacked by great white sharks than any other shark species.
The Tiger Shark is an aggressive predator and is found mostly in tropical and warm waters. They can grow up to a length of 15 – 16 feet or 5 meters and can weigh around 800 kilograms.
Also called the sea tiger, they get their name from the tiger like stripes on the body which fades away as it grows older. They also earned the nickname ‘The Wastebasket’ of the sea because they will eat virtually anything, including human garbage and trash which floats out to sea.
The Whale Shark is the largest fish in the entire Ocean! The “whale” part in its name describes its length which is comparable to whales.
An average adult is the length of a school bus?! They typically grow to about 10-12 m (33-40 ft), but may reach 18 m (60 ft) in length. They can weigh up to 15 tons.
These sharks have flat, T-shaped heads that make them stand out from other sharks.
Their oddly-shaped heads give them a wide visual range, which aids their hunting. These sharks inhabit tropical and warm temperate oceans around the world.
The Blue Shark is one of the most beautiful of all sharks. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most over fished sharks in the world.
Blue sharks get their name from their coloration: They have dark blue backs, lighter blue sides, and white undersides.
They reach up to 4 meters in length (13 feet) and weight up to 205 kilograms (450 pounds).
The basking shark is the second largest fish in existence (the first largest is the whale shark). Interestingly enough, although the size of the basking shark is incredibly large, its diet only consists of plankton.
These sharks can live in cold as well as warm temperature waters. The mouth of a basking shark is very recognizable. Their mouths are tremendously large; they can be well over 3 ft (1 m) in width!
Dwarf Lantern Shark
This is the smallest species of sharks. It’s rarely seen and little is known about it. It has only been observed a few times off the northern tip of South America at depths between 283–439 meters (928–1,440 feet).
This shark is so small that it can fit into the palm of your hand.