Thursday, 12 April 2007

Shark Myths and Facts

Da-dum ... Da-dum ... Da-dum.. Da-dum.. Da-dum, Da-dum!

It has been 30 years now since the release of the blockbuster Jaws and these two notes still instill fear. Some would argue that great whites are not vengeful, man-eating killing machines but are in fact, intelligent, misunderstood ancient sea creatures. I would agree with this statement in that they do not target people and are intelligent animals, but their fundamental morphology has remained unchained for millions of years because they are perfectly adapted killing machines: keen senses, speed, agility and a mouth full of huge, serrated teeth backed by the most powerful jaws of the animal kingdom. Make no mistake, they are efficient and ferocious animals perfectly suited to their niche.

*The great white is about 6m (20ft) long and the largest predatory fish.

*It is actually grey on top with a white underbelly, camouflage for hunting. The colouration makes them difficult to see from above as they blend in with the rocks and the white belly makes them hard to see from below because they blend in with the sky.

*Sharks never run out of teeth. If they lose one another spins forward from rows and rows of backup teeth. A great white has hundreds of teeth in its jaws at any one time.

*Sharks prefer a high fat food source since fat stores more energy then muscle. Their favourite snack is a baby seal.

*Once a seal is caught, other sharks smell the blood in the water and show up for the meal. Great whites can smell one drop of blood in 100L of water. Since their prey has a lot of blood, nearby sharks are easily attracted to the kill and show up for a feeding frenzy.

*The meal is divided up based on interactions. The animal that splashes the most water gets the next bite. Despite eating together sharks do not hunt together.

*The great white can move through the water at 40 km/hour

*But though they are fierce predators, great whites don’t like the taste of humans; less then 6 people are killed by sharks every year.

1 comment:

Grant said...

I had the amazing experience of going shark cage diving with great white sharks last year. It was an experience that I will never forget. They truly are amazing animals!
Great post!