5 Things You Didn’t Know About Sharks

After digging out pictures on a sighting of a small, non-threatening shark (at least that’s what the locals say) on a trip to Hawaii quite a while ago, (I went here in case anyone was wondering) I got to thinking. Sharks are really fascinating creatures! They have captured the hearts of men all over. Feared for their apparent eating habits, only further fed by news reports and Hollywood movies, sharks are avoided and sometimes have been hunted and now not too many remain in the seas. However, many people have recognized the true majesty of the shark, thanks to science. In light of that, here are five things you probably didn’t know about sharks.

1. Only four types of sharks present a large threat to humans. There are more than 360 species of them, but only the great white, bull, tiger and the oceanic whitetip sharks are known for biting humans. These attacks are provoked more often than not, and sometimes even mistaken! There are a few more species which have attacked humans, but they rarely cause death.

2. Sharks only bite…sometimes! A shark cannot eat several times in a row like we can. Oftentimes a shark will bite something to check if it’s worth eating, much like people checking the back of the box for price and nutrition! If it senses that what it’s biting isn’t worth the digestive time, it releases the person, animal or object and goes off to find better food. Talk about discriminating!

3. Sharks may be afraid of dolphins! We’ve heard tales of dolphins protecting humans from sharks. An experiment was also done by Mythbusters where a mechanical dolphin was placed near a seal cutout and raw bait, while a great white shark was feeding. Instead of going for either target, the shark opted to stay away! He only went for it when the dolphin was removed. Scientists still can’t explain why, so don’t try to rent out a dolphin just yet.

4. Sometimes, sharks don’t need a mate to reproduce. There has been a documented case of a shark giving birth without male contact for three years. The newborn had no parental DNA, which makes it a close copy of its mother! This may be a last resort if there are no males around, but since they can’t evolve because of that, it may cause them to become extinct.

5. Sharks are worshipped as gods! Hawaii, that group of islands out in the Pacific Ocean, has more than its share of sharks. It’s not surprising that they model gods out of these creatures. These gods are said to be able to transform from human to shark at will! Many of them are said to be originally human. A common type of story about these gods goes like this: the shark in human form warns beach-goers about sharks in the water. They ignore him, and are later eaten by the human who warned them, who had turned into a shark. When someone warns you about sharks in the water, follow it!

We humans have not fully unraveled the true workings of the shark. Is it friend or foe? Hopefully these facts will make you appreciate sharks more. What other little tidbits do you know? Share them with us!

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10 Responses

  1. Interesting, thanks for sharing.

  2. The answer to #3 has been documented… in particular Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins have bone in their noses, not soft cartilage. This allows the dolphin to ram a shark in the side causing injury and sometimes death.

  3. 6- Pool sharks are only pretending to play pool poorly.

  4. “Only four types of sharks present a large threat to humans. There are more than 360 species of them, but only the great white, bull, tiger and the oceanic whitetip sharks are known for biting humans. These attacks are provoked more often than not, and sometimes even mistaken!”

    it is bull if any say a bull shark has to be provoked or usually is provoked so they attack…and how many people do you knw that go around picking a fight with a great white?…seriously?…that is bologna…

    charter shark fishing captian,
    theseldomscene

  5. “Provoke” is just the wrong word – people might not go out picking fights with sharks (although maybe shark fishing qualifies) but the point is that sharks typically don’t attack humans for food.

    The great majority of white shark attacks have been test-bites: a sudden attack in which the shark doesn’t return to bite again or feed. The typical white shark feeding pattern is a sudden strike from below, then returning once the prey item (usually a seal) has bled and struggled for a while. If the animal appears to not have been sufficiently injured, they will frequently attack with a follow-up bite to further incapacitate the animal, but sharks feed infrequently and are masters of conserving their energy. Once the prey is tired out, the shark will typically return to feed.

    What we’ve learned from shark attacks over the years is that white sharks very rarely bite more than once or even pursue a person after they’ve been bitten. What typically happens is a fast strike and then the shark disappears. It may not help the rare swimmer or surfer who’s been bitten (only ~5 die a year, but only one in 2007, ANYWHERE in the world) but the sharks aren’t trying to eat them.

  6. […] citing research and evidence. As you remember, I have written informative shark posts on my blog here and here. I still believe that we can learn from these […]

  7. […] citing research and evidence. As you remember, I have written informative shark posts on my blog here and here. I still believe that we can learn from these […]

  8. […] citing research and evidence. As you remember, I have written informative shark posts on my blog here and here. I still believe that we can learn from these […]

  9. […] 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Sharks […]

  10. Fred Shaffner, the sharks are not afraid of the dolphins, the dangerous sharks eat habitually dolphins:

    http://sharksforum.superforos.com/viewtopic.php?t=52

    http://sharksforum.superforos.com/viewtopic.php?t=68

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