8 Facts about Sharks That Might Blow Your Mind

Shark getting close to my lens

How many sharks have you heard of? At the very least, there’s the Great White and the Tiger Shark, right? Well, here are some facts about sharks that will blow your mind. Did you know that there are over 350 different species of sharks and they can be found in all parts of the world’s oceans? Did you know that sharks have been around for more than 400 million years, long before dinosaurs were even alive? Did you know that some sharks can live over 100 years?

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1) Only 16% of Shark Species are Considered Dangerous

One of the most common fears people have is that they’ll be attacked by a shark while swimming. However, only 16% of all known shark species are dangerous to humans. With around 500 different types of sharks found throughout every major ocean, it’s not likely you’ll ever encounter one in its natural habitat, let alone come face-to-face with an aggressive creature. Why? For starters, 95% of them spend most of their time submerged underwater. While many live near coastlines and enjoy bathing at popular beaches and snorkeling sites (yes, some like scuba diving), there’s still a strong chance you’ll never even see one when visiting these areas. The average person doesn’t need to worry about becoming shark food any time soon!

Tiger Shark, Fiji

2) There are More than 500 Shark Species

There are over 500 different species of sharks in our oceans. These have developed into a variety of body shapes and sizes to accommodate their specialized role at the top of their food chain. The largest shark, for example, is often referred to as apex predator due to its position at or near top-of-the-food-chain.

Hammerhead, Ecuador

3) They Live All Over the World

The blue shark is an apex predator, meaning it’s at or near the top of its food chain. This means they can be found in all kinds of ocean environments: mid-ocean, near continental shelves, and around islands and coasts. Sharks are thought to have evolved nearly 440 million years ago—which means they were swimming alongside dinosaurs! And if you ever find yourself diving down with a great white, chances are good you’ll also swim with one of their primary food sources: sea lions!

Reef Shark, Maldives
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4) Great White Sharks Can Live up to 70 Years

Great white sharks are apex predators, meaning they’re at or near the top of their food chain. As a result, they don’t have many natural predators—but that doesn’t mean they live forever. While it’s estimated that great whites can live up to 70 years, few do so. This is because people catch and kill them for sport and food, with an average lifespan of just 20 years.

Bull Sharks, Mexico

People who have always been fascinated by sharks are now trying to get up close and personal with them. Scuba diving with sharks is one way to do that, but not everyone is cut out for diving with these huge predators of the deep. It’s a scary thought since their reputation precedes them. For example, it’s common knowledge they can smell a single drop of blood in an Olympic-sized swimming pool and they can read body language very well in order to size you up as prey or predator. Still though, there are many people around today that make it their life’s mission to take on all shark species (the smaller ones at least). If you want to find out more about these beasts of the ocean then keep reading for some facts about them.

Shark Feeding, Nassau, Bahamas

6) How Many People Die From Shark Attacks Each Year?

Of course, it’s important to note that shark attacks and shark-related deaths are still very rare. Although there is some concern that shark populations might be on a decline due to overfishing and habitat loss, around 50 million sharks are killed by humans every year.

Whitetip Reef Sharks, Mexico

7) Shark Extermination Inhumane and Not Always Effective

As scuba divers all over the world begin to explore deeper into our oceans, we are encountering more and more of these mysterious predators. But instead of learning more about sharks and appreciating them for their beauty, we have waged a war against them. Shark extermination has been organized by multiple countries in order to protect swimmers, but some scientists believe it’s doing more harm than good. The evidence suggests that killing one species or even large numbers of sharks is not necessarily effective at reducing shark-human encounters. In fact, there is evidence that they can lead to an increase in surplus killing behavior where humans kill animals without needing to eat them simply because they have killed other animals (like sharks). The circle of life is much more complex than previously thought, and if humans continue exterminating species for seemingly justified reasons, we might be putting our own survival at risk. A better solution would be developing technology like drum lines and tagging programs that keep swimmers safer while also allowing us to observe these creatures up close; only then will we be able to appreciate how truly amazing they are…and maybe even learn from them!

Bullhead Shark, Ecuador

8) Apex Predators are Important for Marine Ecosystems

As apex predators, sharks play a vital role in maintaining balance within ocean ecosystems. The consequences of overfishing or shark culling are therefore more than just an issue for conservation—they could have devastating effects on ocean health and marine life as a whole. While no one can predict what will happen if sharks go extinct, it’s important to consider that even if sharks do not directly affect your life, they may be vital to preserving ecosystems that are critical to humanity’s survival. Some experts believe that because so many species rely on sharks for their own reproductive needs, removing these animals from our oceans could lead to another global extinction event. If we truly want our oceans to remain healthy, we need a better understanding of how incredibly crucial and vulnerable these creatures really are. If there is any hope for future generations to coexist with aquatic creatures like sharks, there needs to be increased public support for conserving them now while they still exist in abundance.

Leopard Shark, Oman

Here’s a link to nearly all of the sharks I’ve seen underwater.

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