Sharks – they have a bad reputation thanks to movies like Jaws, but they are essential part of our world. They are also one of nature’s most interesting creatures. Here are some amazing facts:
1. Sharks range from very small to very large
The smallest shark, known as the dwarf lanternshark, is only 6-8 inches long. The largest shark species, the whale shark, can grow 40-feet long, which makes them the largest fish in the world.
2. Parenthood for sharks is a wild ride
The gestation period for sharks can be up to two years long. For the blue shark, the journey is just getting started. A female blue shark can have as many as 135 pups per litter.
3. Sharks never stop growing teeth
For humans, once we lose an adult tooth, that’s it, it’s gone. For sharks, however, who are constantly losing teeth, new one are always growing in. Depending on the shark’s life, they can go through as many as 35,000 throughout their life.
4. Some sharks eat vegetables
In 2018, scientists discovered why the bonnethead shark eats lots of sea grass. For years, experts believed the vegetable-chomping was accidental, as lots of meaty prey hides in the grass, and the grass didn’t have any nutritional value. However, the huge volume of grass in some shark’s stomachs didn’t add up. An experiment revealed that when bonnetheads were fed a diet of 90% sea grass and 10% squid, the sharks were actually absorbing nutrients from the grass. This makes them the first omnivorous shark species.
5. Sharks actually can get cancer
While commonly-believed that sharks are invulnerable to cancer, they actually can come down with the disease. However, 23 species of shark have been shown to get cancer. Why isn’t this more well-known? There’s a big market for shark-related health products promising to protect and even cure cancer. It’s a dangerous and deceptive trade.