To celebrate the #sharweek, that starts the August 11, we leave some curiosities that will surprise you. The fact that sharks are completely awesome is no surprise, but some of the facts that make them so great might shock you!
#1 Whale sharks are not only the largest shark species; they are also the largest fish in the world. At 40 feet long, the whale shark dwarfs the world’s smallest shark, the dwarf lanternshark, which is on average 6-8 inches long.
#2 The gestation period for a pregnant female shark can range from five months to two years. Yes, two years! The spiny dogfish shark takes the medal for that one. Not only is this the longest confirmed pregnancy for sharks, it is also one of the longest pregnancies of any animal.
#3 Nurse sharks are social animals who rest on the bottom in groups during the day. Nurse sharks cruise the bottom with their mouths open to suck in prey. They are not aggressive, and are often common in aquariums.
#4 Talk about an odd family tree. Some female sharks use sperm from multiple males to reproduce, making the pups half-siblings…even though they’re born at the same time.
#5 Hammerhead sharks’ oddly shaped heads, called cephalofoils, aren’t just for show. They are equipped with electrical sensors, which make hammerheads superior hunters.
#6 It’s official: a shark dentist would never go out of work (if such a thing existed). Some sharks can cycle through up to 35,000 teeth in their lifetimes.
#7 In many species of sharks the females are larger than the males, but male snaggletooth sharks are twice the size of the females. You can’t win ’em all.
#8 Sharks live in all of the world’s oceans. Some species, such as the bull shark, are also able to survive in freshwater environments.
#9 Sharks had some pretty epic ancestors. The Bandringa had a head covered in spikes, a long snout and a protruding jaw. And the Helicoprion sliced prey like a buzzsaw with its 360-degree spiral of teeth (and you thought Jaws was scary). Shark body design stabilized 140 million years ago – about 300 million years after sharks first evolved.
#10 The blue shark can give birth to up to 135 pups in one litter. That’s a lot of mouths to feed!