Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

10 Little-Known Shark Facts

Animals
10 Little-Known Shark Facts
There are hundreds of species of sharks in the world, and they have been around since before the dinosaurs. Albert kok / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 3.0

Every day, sharks suffer from different threats. Up to 100 million sharks disappear every year, due to destructive fishing by humans and the impact of climate breakdown. One-third of the world's known shark species have been listed as "threatened" species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.


We need to talk about them, because the ocean desperately needs sharks! After 400 million years of evolution, sharks are incredible creatures—master hunters with incredible precision. Sitting at the top of the food chain, they're central to maintaining the balance of marine ecosystems.

There are hundreds of species of sharks in the world, and they have been around since before the dinosaurs. Despite their fearsome Hollywood reputation, they are some of the most amazing animals on the planet.

1. Many sharks lay eggs, but some give birth to live young, just like we do. Shark pregnancies can last from a few months to well over a couple of years. That's longer than whales or elephants!


This whale shark smiles for the camera in the warm water off the coast of the Philippines. Greenpeace

2. Sharks come in all shapes and sizes, from the tiny lantern sharks, which are about the size of your hand, to giant whale sharks, which are about the same size as a bus.

A former fisherman, now a whale shark guide, hand feeds a whale shark as a tourist takes an underwater photo, Tan-awan, Oslob Cebu. Greenpeace

3. Greenland sharks, which live in cold polar waters, hold the record as the oldest known vertebrate animals on the planet. Since they are estimated to live as long as 500 years, there could be some alive today that were born in the Middle Ages. For reference, Leonardo Da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa 500 years ago!

An oceanic whitetip shark in Egypt. Greenpeace

4. Mako sharks hold the record for being the most athletic sharks, reaching swimming speeds of over 40 miles per hour! They are also known to have jumped as much as 30 feet out of the water.

A whale shark photographed from above in Cenderawasih Bay National Park, Indonesia. Greenpeace

5. The world's biggest sharks also have the widest mouths and eat only tiny ocean plankton, just like the largest whales.

A whale shark in the Philippines. Greenpeace

6. Carpet sharks live on the ocean floor and have elaborate patterns to blend in with perfect camouflage. The Tasseled Wobbegong shark takes this to the extreme, with a fringe of feathery 'tassels' around its body.

7. Epaulette sharks have developed a cunning ability to hold their breath and walk over rocks and land using their fins and tail. This lets them check out the seafood buffet in neighboring rock pools at low tide.

Lemon shark and other fish underwater at Tuamotus, French Polynesian. Greenpeace

8. Hammerhead sharks' elongated heads not only give them super-sense when it comes to electromagnetic detection, but they also have almost 360-degree surround vision.

A Blue Shark (Prionace glauca) near the Azores. Greenpeace

9. When sharks are turned upside down, they go into a natural suspended state called tonic immobility.

A shark is seen in the Republic of Palau. Greenpeace

10. It's dark in the deep sea, so tiny lantern sharks have developed their own way to glow in the dark. It's not yet known if this is to find food, find each other, or help avoid being eaten!

Grey Reef Sharks in Tahiti. Greenpeace

In June 2019, the Greenpeace ship Esperanza went to the North Atlantic to confront the overfishing of sharks. At the same time, Greenpeace International issued a report, Sharks Under Attack: Overfished and under-protected. It proposed a solution: secure a strong Global Ocean Treaty at the UN.

Reposted with permission from Greenpeace.

Yves Adams / Instagram

A rare yellow penguin has been photographed for what is believed to be the first time.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The Crystal building in London, England is the first building in the world to be awarded an outstanding BREEAM (BRE Environmental Assessment Method) rating and a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) platinum rating. Alphotographic / Getty Images

By Stuart Braun

We spend 90% of our time in the buildings where we live and work, shop and conduct business, in the structures that keep us warm in winter and cool in summer.

But immense energy is required to source and manufacture building materials, to power construction sites, to maintain and renew the built environment. In 2019, building operations and construction activities together accounted for 38% of global energy-related CO2 emissions, the highest level ever recorded.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Houses and wooden debris are shown in flood waters from Hurricane Katrina Sept. 11, 2005 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Jerry Grayson / Helifilms Australia PTY Ltd / Getty Images

By Eric Tate and Christopher Emrich

Disasters stemming from hazards like floods, wildfires, and disease often garner attention because of their extreme conditions and heavy societal impacts. Although the nature of the damage may vary, major disasters are alike in that socially vulnerable populations often experience the worst repercussions. For example, we saw this following Hurricanes Katrina and Harvey, each of which generated widespread physical damage and outsized impacts to low-income and minority survivors.

Read More Show Less
A gray wolf is seen howling outside in winter. Wolfgang Kaehler / Contributor / Getty Images

Wisconsin will end its controversial wolf hunt early after hunters and trappers killed almost 70 percent of the state's quota in the hunt's first 48 hours.

Read More Show Less
Tom Vilsack speaks on December 11, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware after being nominated to be Agriculture Secretary by U.S. President Joe Biden. Jim Watson / AFP / Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

Sen. Bernie Sanders on Tuesday was the lone progressive to vote against Tom Vilsack reprising his role as secretary of agriculture, citing concerns that progressive advocacy groups have been raising since even before President Joe Biden officially nominated the former Obama administration appointee.

Read More Show Less