It's Shark Week this week, and today we bring you some interesting facts about this incredible and often demonised marine animal, as well as some of the best video footage out there of these highly evolved apex predators.
Image courtesy of Joi
Quick Shark Facts
- Sharks have been in our seas in some form for over 400 million years.
- There are at least 350 different species of shark.
- 80% of which measure less than 1.6 metres (5 feet) long.
- None of them have any bones; instead they have strong cartilage tissue.
- Sharks change their teeth every 8 days – sometimes replacing up to 30,000 in a life time.
- The Hammerhead shark is one of the few animals which can get a sun tan.
- The film Jaws was loosely based on real events in 1916 when there were several shark attacks in a couple of weeks on the New Jersey shore.
- Most species can swim 20 – 40 miles per hour.
- The Swell shark of New Zealand barks like a dog!
The Videos and the Truth
It is a myth that all sharks are vicious killers. As you can see by this video some sharks lose the battle with their prey. Sharks are also not the biggest animal threat to humans – dogs harm more people than sharks do. This is because they are often not found in the areas which we generally go.
It is also not true that sharks have walnut-sized brains. Sharks actually have some of the largest brains out of all the world’s fish. Many learn body language to be able to communicate with each other. Sharks are able to catch prey without seeing them or smelling them – instead they use their impressive hearing as well as electrical sensors found on their bodies.
It is true however that the Great White shark has to be continuously moving - this is so they can get enough oxygen in to their gills. Slow motion images show the impressive creatures in the process of them catching their prey.