I said before that I wanted to venture into the world of sharks with you, one at a time, learning about their individual characteristics and make up, and thought I would start with an overview of some of the more “outstanding” of the 510 species of shark. I spoke of the Lemon Shark in my previous blog, and also admitted that this is one of my favourite sharks, but there are a whole lot of others that will inspire awe and amazement at their sheer abilities and odd looks!
Possibly one of the most vicious looking of all sharks is the Ragged Tooth Shark. They tend to hang out together and feed in the manmade catacombs of ship wrecks! Being most active at night, they stay pretty well hidden until darkness falls. These fearful looking creatures hunt other smaller sharks, bony fish, rays, crustaceans and squid. As scary a predator this shark may look to us, it is actually rather placid and totally misunderstood; as is true of all the sharks.
The Mako Shark, with its big eyes and round nose, is the cheetah of the ocean. With one advantage over the cheetah, it is able to achieve speeds of over 46 miles an hour (over 74km per hour) for as long as is needed for it to catch its prey and beyond, cruising around at a speed of anywhere between 20 and 30 miles per hour! The exact speeds and duration capable of a Mako Shark are not yet known, as every experiment to date has ended with the blowing up of speed boat engines resulting in uncompleted data! This shark is built for speed, even sporting “spoilers” on either side of its tail and stream lined “skin teeth”! I’m guessing catching one of these big boys (they grow to an average of 2 meters in length and weigh between 90 and 160kgs) will prove a challenge and out swimming a Mako shark, an even greater one! This is fast becoming another of my favourites.
When we think of sharks, we tend to think warmer waters, at least I do, but were you aware that there is a shark that lives beneath the snow in Arctic type conditions? The Greenland Shark is a slow moving “mammoth” of a shark that is able to live for more than 200 years while swimming less than half a mile an hour, in the oceans of the North Atlantic around Canada. Moving at this excruciatingly slow pace, either to preserve warmth or the bit of energy it has, or because it is in waters that are recorded at temperatures below freezing; the only thing that prevents the waters from freezing up, is the salt. The Greenland shark is blind, though not born this way, it becomes blind as a result of a copepod parasite, that is only found in this particular area, and which only feeds off of the Greenland sharks’ eye, eating away at it until the sharks entire world is left in darkness. Though having the electro receptors makes the need for vision unnecessary.
The Epaulette shark, is fascinating, amazing and a wonderment of creation! This little guy, reaching all of 35cm (14 inches), walks on land! No, he’s not a lawyer, wink, wink, nudge, nudge, only joking… This little guy lives in the shallow waters of the Australian Great Barrier Reef, where he hides from the big boys during high tide and steps into his own in low tide! Feasting on fresh crab, his favourite of favourites. And when the tide ebbs out beyond the pools, leaving him stranded on dry land/reef, no worries, he simply shuts down his organs, and when that isn’t enough, he’ll take a walk to the next body of water!
There are more, many more wonderful sharks, like the Thrasher Shark, Whitetip Reef Shark, Goblin Shark, Frilled Shark, which you would be excused for thinking, was a prehistoric snake, the Blacktip Sharks and of course the “Boss” The Great White Shark, but i don’t want to over load the senses, and end up taking away from these incredible sharks, so promise I will look into these others soon!
Until we meet again, keep that toothy grin!
by Nadine Bentley