There’s plenty to love about shark fishing, not the least of which is the sharks themselves! While it may not be everyone’s thing, shark fishing can be exciting – especially considering all of the mythology surrounding these beasts of the deep. There’s something so uniquely satisfying about reeling in a shark, which we have to admit is one of the reasons shark fishing is so appealing to so many people. So after you dump your chum, but before your shark takes the bait, mull over these cool facts about sharks, which have existed in Earth’s waters for hundreds of millions of years.
- There are roughly 440 different types of sharks in the world’s oceans, and there may still be shark species that haven’t been discovered yet. The smallest is the dwarf lanternshark, which doesn’t even reach 7 in. long.
- Many shark species are what are known as apex predators, meaning that nothing hunts and eats them. And sharks are among some of the best hunters in the world – even baby sharks can hunt successfully.
- A single big meal is often enough to tide some sharks over for months because sharks use very little energy while swimming. Certain species of shark will retain undigested food in their bellies, saving it for later.
- A shark that looks asleep may just be resting, or half of its brain may be asleep while the other half is wide awake. And some shark species may look awake because they’re swimming or engaging in other behaviors while actually asleep.
- Sharks seem to be resistant to cancer, and science doesn’t know quite why. It’s widely believed that sharks can’t get cancer, but that’s not true. Unfortunately, the myth has led people to believe that shark cartilage and shark fins have anti-cancer properties. Again, not true.
- Some shark species have to stay moving or rely on currents to breathe easily, but other sharks can stay stationary without problems. Because sharks don’t have swim bladders, they tend to sink when they’re not moving.
- Many people fear sharks, but most shark species aren’t dangerous to humans. Just for perspective, more people are killed by simple bee stings each year than are killed by shark attacks. And the vast majority (90%) of people who go nose to nose with a shark survive.
- The bull shark is the only shark species that can live in both freshwater and saltwater. However, while the bull shark, which inhabits coastal areas near river mouths, can go pretty far upriver, it only tolerates freshwater – it’s not a true freshwater shark.
- True freshwater sharks are made up of five rare species of shark in the genus Glyphis, all of which have declining populations and have not been well-documented by scientists. Sharks in rivers? Who knew?