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03 Jul 2018 14:08:50
With more than 450 different recorded species, sharks are one of the most diverse animal species on the planet. They can be found in almost every body of saltwater and some species are even able to adapt themselves to fresh water. Now that's clever evolution! Hungry for more? Here are our top 5 fun facts about sharks.
Have you ever seen a shark skeleton? They're hard to come by. This is because sharks are cartilaginous animals, which means their skeletons are made of cartilage instead of bones. When they die, the salt water dissolves every part of them apart from their teeth.
As sharks are all meat-eating carnivores and their only weapon is their mouth, they need sharp teeth and powerful jaws to catch, kill and eat their prey. An average shark has 40-45 teeth per row in up to seven rows. They also never stop growing new teeth as worn or broken ones fall out and need to be replaced. This means the average shark can go through up to 30,000 teeth in their lifetime - WOW!
Did you know, the whale shark is the biggest fish in the world? This species has been known to grow as long as 18 metres - that’s as long as a bus! They don’t just beat all other fish by length, they are also similar to whales in girth. The average weight of a whale shark is around 15 to 20 tonnes – that’s up to 20,000 kilograms!
Sharks are one of the oldest predators still alive. They have been living in the world’s oceans for over 450 million years... that’s at least 200 million years older than dinosaurs. They are one of the only creatures who have survived 5 mass extinctions and over such a long period have evolved into a diverse range of species.
While this isn’t true for all shark species, there are some who will drown if they stop swimming. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? But it’s true! These specific species (such as Great White Sharks and the Salmon Shark) do not have the muscles required to pump oxygenated water over their gills, so constant moving is necessary to keep water filtering through. If they stopped, it would be the equivalent of a human trying to breathe water instead of oxygen.
Want to come face-to-fin, in the tank with our sharks?
Shark Dive Extreme at SEA LIFE Melbourne is an exhilarating experience and one of the only few in the world where you are guaranteed an underwater encounter with sharks. Dive into a huge adrenaline rush and feel the thrill of coming face-to-fin with these fascinating creatures. No diving experience required.