Thursday is blog day, and how awesome it is to see you here again! If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere you’re probably excited about the fact that spring is here. This means that summer is on the way! Perhaps you have your summer vacation planned, and you’re going to the beach for that time. If so, you’ll find today’s blog quite interesting as we take a look at some fun facts about sharks.
While whales and dolphins are mammals, sharks are actually fish. I’ve visited the ocean and met a whale before, and I can tell you all about that in a letter if you want to be my pen-pal.
In Rose’s book ‘Sam Swims with the Sharks’ she tells the tale of a young girl who is teased because her adult teeth are starting to grow behind her baby teeth. This is what happens to sharks all the time; they grow rows of teeth, with new rows growing behind old ones. This happens because their teeth are sometimes pulled out when catching their prey, or they become blunt and don’t function so well anymore. And so, they constantly need to keep growing new teeth if they are to remain healthy predators.
With people, however, we only grow two sets of teeth throughout our lives. Sometimes our adult teeth are eager to appear even before our baby ones have gone. And this is how the term ‘shark teeth’ came about. It’s never anything to worry about, but bullies will be bullies and those teased by them should take no notice!
Now let’s take a look at those fun facts about sharks!
1 - Sharks are carnivorous predators who hunt for their food. Some species hunt as a group whereas others, like the Great White Shark, will hunt alone.
2 - Sharks are fish, just like Nemo and Dory! They are cold-blooded and lay eggs, as opposed to mammals who give birth to live young.
3 - The largest shark in the ocean is the Whale shark. This shark got its name because of its size - ‘as big as a whale’ - even though it is a shark.
4 - The smallest shark in the world is the Dwarf Lanternshark. This shark got given its name because it has light-emitting organs called ‘photophores’ on its belly that help to attract their prey.
5 - A Hammerhead shark’s head, known as ‘Cephalofoils’, is filled with electrical sensors which make it one of the superior hunters among all sharks.
6 - Sharks can grow and lose as many as thirty-five thousand teeth in one lifetime!
7 - Sharks have been around for thousands and thousands of years. However, they were once much larger than the sharks we see today. One of these great sharks is known as the Megladon; you can see the size of one of its teeth below!
8 - Because of movies about sharks, some people tend to think they are terrible monsters that should not be in the water with us. However, they are not monsters at all - they are just big fish - and the reported number of deaths caused by shark bites worldwide in 2018 was four. Yes, only four people around our whole world were killed by a shark bite in 2018. The ocean is their home, not ours. Sharks only attack if they think the ‘body’ they see is food. People should never expect sharks to leave their home just so that people can swim. That simply isn’t fair – I hope you’ll agree.
9 - The shark in Rose’s book ‘Sam Swims with the Sharks’ is a Thresher shark. In the Philippines, people can go diving and swim with these friendly sharks, just like Sam does. They mean no harm and are very beautiful and graceful to watch.
10 - Thresher Sharks were named after foxes! It was Aristotle who claimed that because Thresher sharks can bite through fishing lines to escape, and will temporarily swallow their babies to protect them from predators, they must be like foxes. Aristotle believed that these behaviors showed a high level of intelligence and cunning, and led to sharks being named ‘Alopex’ which in Greek means ‘fox’. Foxes, of course, are also highly intelligent and cunning animals.
Well, now that you know a little more about these giants (and dwarves) of the sea, you might realize that they are not the horrible creatures they are often made out to be in the movies. Most beaches have lifeguards that will give warning if there are sharks nearby, and at that time you should leave the water immediately - but only because a shark might mistake you for a seal or something else they think they can eat. Don’t go swimming in waters where sharks live – that would be like walking in a jungle around tigers and lions. The cycle of life is complex, but no animal ever intends to hurt you for fun or power – they only need to eat, just like us.
If you have adult teeth growing behind your baby teeth, or you know someone who does, don’t forget to read Rose’s book ‘Sam Swims with the Sharks’. Never let anyone bully you for any reason. Remember, people only bully others because they have issues about themselves. You are awesome and always will be!
Until next time, keep shining,
Sam Swims with the Sharks