Shark Week: Ten Things You Might Not Know About Sharks
It’s Shark Week, and Billshark is here to celebrate our favorite fish. We have a lot of fun things in store for you this week, including a social media contest you won’t want to miss. So stay tuned all week to get in on the festivities.
Let’s start off by hunting down some facts you may not know about this magnificent creature.
- Sharks have been around for at least 400 million years. This means they are not only older than dinosaurs but older than trees. The largest-known species of shark, C. Megalodon, is thought to have reached a length of 67 feet. There are more than 465 species of sharks in our oceans, and they live in every ocean. Some, like the bull shark, can live in fresh as well as salt water.
- Sharks never sleep. They must keep moving in order to breathe through their sets of five to seven gills, though some species can rest on the sea bed while pumping water through their gills. Their keen sense of smell can detect the scent of a single drop of blood in the water from miles away, and they have excellent eyesight, but their main method for finding prey is an organ in their snout that allows them to distinguish the electromagnetic charge emitted by all living things.
- Even though they are a fish, they have cartilage instead of bone for structural support, which is more lighter and flexible than bone, as well as more durable. They also give birth to live pups, which can immediately swim and feed on their own. The average lifetime of a shark is between 20 and 30 years.
- Just like dogs and cats, sharks like being petted by humans. There are even “petting pools” where you can go and cozy up to these sweet beasts. Different species have different preferences, from tiger sharks’ preference for slight pressure on the sides of their snouts to leopard sharks who beg hugs and tickles from their keepers. (Warning: Don’t try this at home! These sharks are acclimated to their keepers, not to strangers in the open sea.)
- Peter Benchley, the author of the bestseller “Jaws”, which resulted in the blockbuster film, regretted till his dying day his role in casting sharks as evil creatures, and spent the rest of his life campaigning to protect sharks. There were only five shark-related human deaths in 2017—in the entire world. Fact: You are more likely to be killed by a cow than by a shark.
- Humans are far more dangerous to sharks than they are to us. Shark populations around the world are being decimated by illegal or even legal-but-unregulated fishing. Approximately 100 million sharks are killed annually by humans, sometimes caught as bycatch in seine nets, longlines, and trawl nets, but usually are fished deliberately for their fins.
- Shark fins add no flavor at all to shark fin soup. The flavor derives from the broth, and they add only a bit of texture, not unlike a bean sprout. Shark fins are in the dish by tradition, and remain in it because they are considered a status symbol, although in the last few years many have begun renouncing its consumption. Fishers hunting shark fins for this soup catch the sharks, slice off the fins, and toss the animal back into the sea to drown.
- Sharks have terrified people for millennia, but even though they’re at the top of the ocean’s food chain, they prey on humans only by accident. If you’re swimming around in the water, you may be mistaken for a seal or a dolphin, but most sharks actually feed on fish, squid or clams. Some even feed on whales’ favorite foods, plankton and krill, straining it through modified gills.
- Sharks can have up to 3,000 teeth at once. If you’ve ever walked on a beach, chances are you’ve found shark teeth. That’s because their teeth aren’t embedded in the jaw, but in the gum, and are easily lost, though they’re quickly replaced. Some estimates put the number of teeth lost in a single shark’s lifetime as high as 30,000.
- Most sharks hunt in the evening and at night. While some shark species form schools and attack in a feeding frenzy, others like the more solitary great white shark surprise and attack their prey—seals and sea lions, primarily—from below.
Speaking of hunting, no one is better than Billshark at hunting down savings for you, which can be as high as thousands of dollars a year! So let us sink our teeth into your bills and see how much we can save for you.
And be sure to catch all the great things we’ll be doing to celebrate Shark Week!