We’re not suggesting that you adopt a pet shark. But you should know what an important role sharks play in the ocean ecosystem which affects the world we live in.
Sharks are considered by many experts to be the top ocean predator. Part of their job is to maintain the balance of ocean species. Sharks clean the oceans by eating sick, wounded or dying animals and keep other predator populations in check. Their decline in population is having a negative affect on that balance.
Did you know, there are over 465 species of sharks that have been found living in our oceans these days.
Sharks are fish and use their gills to breathe.
They have several rows of teeth. Unlike humans, they lose teeth regularly and are replaced with new teeth. The amount of replacement teeth in a shark’s life can add up to 30,000.
A shark’s skeleton is made solely of cartilage which is lighter and more flexible than bone.
A shark’s skin is made up of scales. Their colors are dark on top with light underbodies.
Most shark species have a lifespan of 20-30 years. But some, like the whale shark and spiny dogfish, may live over 100 years.
Over 200 species of shark are on the threatened or endangered list.
Shark species have adapted to many different habitats. Some live near coastal areas, others in deep seas, on the ocean floor, in salt or even fresh water.
Most sharks feed in the evening. They will travel long distances seeking food and in order to mate.
Sharks are known to be very intelligent and communicate with each other, sometimes to plan attacks on prey.
Sharks are able to reproduce when they reach 12-15 years old. Shark pups are born with a full set of teeth (no teething problems here) and shortly after birth, they set out on their own.
Sharks are being decimated in a number of ways. Some are victims of accidents such as being caught in a boat’s propeller. Some are caught illegally, others not recorded as a catch. But by far, finning is the major cause of shark declines.
In some parts of the world, soup made from shark fins is considered a delicacy. Fishermen catch the sharks, cut off their fins while they are still alive and then throw them back in the water, leaving them to die a horrible, painful death. We strongly advocate for the end of this horrific practice.
Most sharks don’t bother with people although they may be a bit curious about these strange human creatures. We should not forget that the oceans are their home where we are visitors. We still would not advise anyone to go swimming with them.