Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

10 Surprising Facts About Sharks

10 Surprising Facts About Sharks

From our obsession with shark-themed movies like Jaws, to our desire to collect shark teeth at the beach, there's no denying that humans have a fascination with these cartilaginous fish.

A school of scalloped hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna lewini). (Photo: Oceana / Rob Stewart)

But, just how well do you know these creatures? Even if you consider yourself pretty knowledgeable about these species, there’s always something new to learn. Take a look below at 10 cool shark facts that may make you look at these ancient creatures in a different light.

1. The jaws of large sharks are about twice as powerful as the jaws of a lion, and can generate up to 40,000 pounds per square inch of pressure in a single bite.

2. Basking sharks suck in more than 10,000 quarts (or 10,000 large Nalgenes) of plankton filled water in one hour.

A basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus). (Photo: Mass. Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs FlickrCreative Commons)

3. Sharks have highly tuned inner ears that help them hear their prey from a distance of up to two city blocks away.

4. Some sharks can produce more than 20,000 teeth in their lifetimes.

5. Sharks' eyes are on the sides of their heads, so they have an amazingly wide sightline spanning nearly 360 degrees.

6. The whale shark may live up to 150 years, making it one of the longest-living creatures on Earth.

A Whale Shark (Rhincodon typus). (Photo: Oceana / Carlos Suárez)

7. Very few of the more than 350 species of shark—a small minority—are known to attack humans.

8. Some shark species females can be pregnant for up to two years.

9. Sharks have existed almost unchanged for 400 million years—long before the dinosaurs—and yet are at risk from human activities such as fishing.

10. A shark's tooth-shaped scales are designed for dynamic movement but have also been mimicked in biotechnological research for their ability to repel barnacles and algal growth.

A Caribbean reef shark (Carcharhinus perezi). (Photo: Oceana / Carlos Suárez)

You Might Also Like

Overfishing Threatens One Quarter of Sharks and Rays With Extinction

Conservation Group Exposes World's Biggest Shark Slaughterhouse

Plastic bails, left, and aluminum bails, right, are photographed at the Green Waste material recovery facility on Thursday, March 28, 2019, in San Jose, California. Aric Crabb / Digital First Media / Bay Area News via Getty Images

By Courtney Lindwall

Coined in the 1970s, the classic Earth Day mantra "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" has encouraged consumers to take stock of the materials they buy, use, and often quickly pitch — all in the name of curbing pollution and saving the earth's resources. Most of us listened, or lord knows we tried. We've carried totes and refused straws and dutifully rinsed yogurt cartons before placing them in the appropriately marked bins. And yet, nearly half a century later, the United States still produces more than 35 million tons of plastic annually, and sends more and more of it into our oceans, lakes, soils, and bodies.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Rise and Resist activist group marched together to demand climate and racial justice. Steve Sanchez / Pacific Press / LightRocket / Getty Images

By Alexandria Villaseñor

This story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.

My journey to becoming an activist began in late 2018. During a trip to California to visit family, the Camp Fire broke out. At the time, it was the most devastating and destructive wildfire in California history. Thousands of acres and structures burned, and many lives were lost. Since then, California's wildfires have accelerated: This past year, we saw the first-ever "gigafire," and by the end of 2020, more than four million acres had burned.

Read More Show Less
Trending
U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced a pair of climate-related secretarial orders on Friday, April 16. U.S. Department of the Interior

By Jessica Corbett

As the Biden administration reviews the U.S. government's federal fossil fuels program and faces pressure to block any new dirty energy development, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland won praise from environmentalists on Friday for issuing a pair of climate-related secretarial orders.

Read More Show Less
David Attenborough narrates "The Year Earth Changed," premiering globally April 16 on Apple TV+. Apple

Next week marks the second Earth Day of the coronavirus pandemic. While a year of lockdowns and travel restrictions has limited our ability to explore the natural world and gather with others for its defense, it is still possible to experience the wonder and inspiration from the safety of your home.

Read More Show Less

By Michael Svoboda

For April's bookshelf we take a cue from Earth Day and step back to look at the bigger picture. It wasn't climate change that motivated people to attend the teach-ins and protests that marked that first observance in 1970; it was pollution, the destruction of wild lands and habitats, and the consequent deaths of species.

Read More Show Less