Shark Myths You Actually Believe Debunked Shark Week 2017
Sharks – One of the most popular Animal topics. They fascinate you. They scare you. But, despite our overwhelming interest in them, there are many myths and misconceptions that surround these amazing creatures. It’s time to set the record straight on some of the more prevalent myths.
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10. Sharks Are Huge
There are so many species of sharks in the world—over 400 species we know of, and most likely others that scientists have yet to discover in the vastness of our oceans. Most sharks are smaller than an average human. Take for instance the Dwarf Lanternshark. At 8.3 inches or 21 centimeters, he is small enough to fit in a human hand. Dwarf Lanternsharks live off the coasts of Colombia and Venezuela in deep waters along the continental shelf. These tiny sharks eat mainly krill.
9. Sharks Are Dangerous
Can sharks be dangerous? Sometimes—mostly when they’re scared. Are they usually dangerous? Not really. The largest shark in existence, weighing in at almost 22 tons, the Whale Shark feeds entirely on plankton. Whale sharks are docile fish and sometimes allow swimmers to catch a ride. Younger whale sharks are gentle and sometimes play with divers. Underwater photographers such as Fiona Ayerst have photographed them swimming close to humans without any danger.
8. Shark Attacks Are Common
You should ALWAYS be aware of your surroundings when you’re in the ocean, but shark attacks aren’t really all that common. In fact, your chances of drowning are orders of magnitude higher. In the United States, there are just 16 shark attacks per year on average. The odds of getting attacked and killed by a shark are 1 in 3,748,067. Your chances of being struck by lightning in your lifetime are almost 50 times greater
7. Sharks Like to Eat People.
There’s a misconception that all sharks eat meat, therefore they want to eat people. While many sharks are carnivores, preying on both large and small marine life as part of their daily diet, there are some that don’t eat meat at all. The whale shark for example. Even the Great White will spit out humans he bites because we are just too bony. Sharks like fat. At between 2-20 percent fat by volume, humans are nowhere near as delicious as his favorite fatty foods.
6. Sharks Are Scary
Humans seem to love being scared by sharks. Good ol’ Jaws and the creepy music helped popularize that, but the truth is sharks shouldn’t be seen as scary. They are fascinating, amazing, beautiful creatures. Modern sharks have been in existence for about 450 million years. They came along before vertebrates crawled onto the shore. They were around before plants started colonizing the continents. The predate the dinosaurs by millions of years. If that doesn’t fascinate you, we can’t imagine much does.
5. Sharks Only Live in the Ocean
Get ready to have your mind blown! While most sharks do live in salt water (aka the oceans), there are some that live in freshwater. For instance, bull sharks live in both ocean and fresh water. They have this amazing ability called osmoregulation—it’s pretty cool. Bull sharks can adapt their osmoregulatory processes to survive in a broad range of water salinities, from the salt water of the ocean to the fresh water of a lake. Consequently, this proximity makes him one of the most dangerous sharks to humans.
4, Sharks Are Dumb Dumbs
If you want to give someone a compliment, tell them they’re as smart as a shark! These creatures are some of the smartest in the ocean. Over the hundreds of millions of years they’ve existed, sharks have developed sophisticated social and hunting behaviors.
3. Sharks Hang Out at the Surface
This is another myth that stems from movies—you know, the shark fin snaking through the water menacingly! But most sharks don’t stick around the surface. You’ll probably never see them up close because they’re deep down in the water.
2. Sharks Have a Terrible Sense of Smell
Wait—where did this myth come from? It’s a terrible myth and not true at all. They have an excellent sense of smell and can sometimes detect prey up to a quarter mile away. While the exact opposite of this myth is also untrue – no sharks can’t detect a single drop of blood in the ocean, but some sharks can detect blood at 1 part per million. That hardly qualifies as the entire ocean, but they still have extraordinary olfactory abilities.
1. Sharks Lay Eggs
This one is true … and not true. Yes, some sharks lay eggs (oviparity), but many others give birth live, called viviparity. Unlike most bony fish, shark’s eggs are fertilized inside the female’s body. The male shark has extensions of the pelvic fins called claspers that are used to transfer sperm to the female and fertilize her eggs. Baby sharks (called pups) are born with a full set of teeth and are fully ready to take care of themselves. They quickly swim away, even from their mothers who might eat them. Litter size ranges from one or two pups (for a great white shark) to over 100 (for a large blue shark or the whale shark).
Much of the information in this video comes from weareteachers.com. Looking around the site, it is an amazing resource for educators.
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