The Beacon

Shark Myths vs. Facts

The largest fish in the ocean, the whale shark. © Tony Rath

Editor's note: Happy Shark Week! All week long we are re-capping some highlights from Shark Week programming. Today we review last night's "How Sharks Hunt."

Sharks have been swimming the world’s oceans for over 400 million years, which has given them plenty of time to evolve into some of the most effective marine predators. There are hundreds of species of sharks, and yet each one has its own preferred prey (fortunately, none of them prefer humans) and also a unique way of hunting.

Last night's episode, "How Sharks Hunt," featured Dave and Cody from Discovery Channel’s Dual Survival series as they explored the various methods that sharks stalk and attack their prey. There was a lot of exciting underwater footage taken by high-tech cameras showing various sharks in hunting mode.

For more info on sharks and their amazing abilities, check out Oceana’s myths versus facts sheet, where we set the record straight on some of the most common (and some of the most unusual) myths about sharks.

Here are a few examples:

Myth: Sharks are all the same.

Fact: Shark species are incredibly diverse with very different sizes, shapes, habitats, diets and behaviors. There are approximately 500 shark species, but only three (white, tiger and bull) are responsible for the majority of all bites.

Myth: All sharks are voracious predators.

Fact: Basking sharks and whale sharks (pictured), the two largest species of sharks, are filter feeders that feed on fish eggs and other tiny organisms.

Myth: The only good shark is a dead shark.

Fact: Sharks play a vital role in keeping marine ecosystems balanced and healthy. Additionally, sharks help coastal economies through ecotourism. Many people are willing to pay large sums of money for the opportunity to dive with sharks.

Myth: All sharks must swim constantly.

Fact: While most sharks do need to swim continuously in order to pass water over their gills and breathe, some sharks are able to actively pump water over their gills while resting on the sea floor.

Myth: Shark fins grow back if they are cut off.

Fact: A finned shark thrown overboard will drown, bleed to death or be eaten by other sharks.

Check out the rest and if you have any other interesting facts about sharks to share, or a myth you would like to see debunked, leave us a comment!


Browse by Date