Our oceans and seas are home to a broad array of extraordinary animals, fish and other life.
Some of the creatures are mesmerizingly beautiful whilst others, like sharks, can be seen as frightening but they are still fascinating to learn about. This article contains some awesome facts about sharks for kids and covers information about the different species of sharks, their bodies and what they do down there in the depths of the water.
Once you have finished reading our interesting facts about sharks, we also have a great article on [glyphic shark facts]. Want to learn about a different marine organism instead? Then our [jellyfish] facts for kids are sure to pique your interest.
Must-Know Shark Facts
With so many shark species on this planet, it is unsurprising that the internet is filled with amazing facts about them. We have looked high and low, however, and these are the facts about sharks we think are a must-know for any child.
1. The average lifespan of a shark is 20-30 years.
2. If you've ever asked yourself 'are sharks fish?' the answer is yes! Although sharks look like a marine mammal, they are indeed a type of fish.
3. Sharks can swim up to 50km an hour but only in short bursts.
4. There are more than 500 shark species in the world.
5. When sharks jump out from under the surface of the water, it is referred to as a breach.
6. An estimated 100 million sharks are killed by fisheries every year by becoming accidentally caught in fishing nets or lines.
7. Sharks constantly shed their teeth and grow new ones. It is not unusual for a shark to have 50,000 teeth over a lifetime.
8. Most sharks have a streamlined, torpedo-shaped body that reduces friction so they can swim more easily.
9. A shark has six senses; vision, taste, smell, hearing, touch and electro-reception.
10. 97% of all sharks are harmless to humans due to their size and teeth.
11. Each year Shark Awareness Day is recognized on the 14 July.
12. 143 shark species are under threat and are listed by the IUCN from vulnerable to critically endangered.
13. Great white sharks are at the top of the food chain.
14. A whale shark can take in more than 6000 of litres of water per hour through its gills.
15. Excluding the Mediterranean sea, the whale shark can be found in all temperatures and tropical oceans worldwide.
16. The angel shark is an interesting and cool shark as it looks more like a ray than a shark.
17. Sawsharks are unusual because they have a long, thin snout lined with teeth that they use to slash their prey.
18. Baby sharks swim away from their mums once they are born to avoid being eaten by them.
19. Sharks only eat about two per cent of their body weight.
20. Shark to shark communication takes place through body language such as arching their backs and lowering their fins.
Sharks have been present in our water for a long, long time and were swimming about long before boats and submarines were ever invented. We dove into the past to bring you some captivating knowledge about sharks throughout history.
21. The earliest known sharks date back to over 420m million years ago.
22. Up until the 16th century, mariners referred to sharks as 'sea dogs'.
23. The megalodon was the biggest shark and one of the largest fish to ever exist in the world. This predator lived just after the dinosaurs some 23 million years ago but only became extinct 2.6 million years ago.
24. As one of the largest fish to have ever existed, the megalodon is estimated to have grown to between 15 and 18 metres in length making it three times longer than the great white shark.
25. Fossils suggest that there have been up to 3,000 species of shark throughout history.
26. Much of what scientists have discovered about the evolution of sharks is from the different type of shark teeth that have been discovered.
27. There have been many films made about sharks with one of the most famous being the 1975 film Jaws.
28. Sharks have survived five extinction events on Earth with the last one being what killed the dinosaurs.
29. One of the earliest known types of sharks is called the Cladoselache.
30. Herodotus, an Ancient Greek historian, once claimed that a group of sharks destroyed a fleet of Persian ships in the 5th century B.C.
31. Helicoprion sharks which lived 290 million years in the past had strange jaws full of teeth that resembled a circular saw.
32. The Carboniferous Period, which began hundreds of millions of years ago, is known as the 'golden age of sharks'.
33. In 2016 a song called Baby Shark by Pinkfong became a viral internet hit.
34. In 2019, the Smithsonian museum installed a 2000lb model of a female megalodon.
35. Since 2010, Discovery Channel's Shark Week is the longest-running television event in history.
The anatomy of sharks differs from fish in many ways so we have dedicated this section to finding out all about the bodies of these captivating creatures.
36. The skeletons of sharks are made from cartilage instead of bone.
37. Sharks have five to seven gills which they use to take in oxygen and expel carbon dioxide.
38. Sharks tail are asymmetrical with the top lobe of the tail being larger than the bottom lobe.
39. Unlike fish, sharks have don't have a swim bladder to help with their buoyancy in the water.
40. Sharks can detect slight electrical fields thanks to their advanced electroreceptive system.
41. Sharks can have up to 3000 teeth in their mouth at a time.
42. The stomach of a shark is u-shaped and contains strong acids to help break down their food.
43. Sharks do have a tongue and it is referred to as a basihyal.
44. Females sharks can be pregnant for up to two years.
45. Sharks have an s-shaped heart with two chambers.
46. The texture of a shark's skin is rough as it is covered in small scales that are similar to teeth called dermal denticles.
47. The jaws of a shark aren't attached to its skull and move as separate parts.
48. Sharks don't have vocal cords so don't make any sound.
49. Although sharks have eyelids, they don't blink. They use them to protect their eyes when fighting.
50. There are nearly 50 different species of sharks which have light-emitting organs called photospheres.
51. Great white sharks can grow about 10 inches in length every year.
52. Sharks have fins to provide balance and stability in the water.
53. For some sharks, their liver makes up 25% of their entire body weight.
54. Some sharks, such as the whitetip reek shark can rest on the seabed.
55. Sharks have a spiracle which is an opening that allows oxygenated blood to go directly to their brain and eyes.
A Day In The Life Of A Shark
Ever wondered what sharks get up to under the surface of the water because we sure have! These shark fun facts reveal some interesting insights into their habits, their food and their personalities.
56. Sharks don't sleep as they have to continue swimming in order to breathe.
57. Most species feed on fish and other small invertebrates but some large sharks will also eat animals such as seals and penguins.
58. Sharks typically live and hunt by themselves, only engaging with other sharks to mate.
59. Most sharks are opportunistic feeders and use the element of surprise to catch their prey.
60. As hunting takes a lot of energy, many sharks will take one large bite from their prey and wait for them to die before eating them.
61. Although the diet between shark species can vary quite a lot, they are all carnivores.
62. It can be hard for scientists to track a shark for an entire day because of how quickly they can move.
63. Sharks can use the heartbeat of their prey in order to track them.
64. Divers have been known to swim alongside whale sharks in total safety.
65. After one big meal, some sharks can go three months before needing to eat again.
67. When a baby shark is born it already has teeth and can swim immediately.
68. When held in captivity, some sharks may refuse to eat, abstaining from food for long periods.
69. Sharks will circle their prey to get a better idea of what they have spotted before they try to eat it.
70. Sharks do seem to experience a wide range of emotions, like fear, anger and curiosity, according to scientists.
Species Of Sharks
There are so many species of shark such as whale sharks and hammerheads, all with their own distinct appearances and features so this section is all about the finer details of these species and what makes them different from one another including some jaw-dropping great white shark facts!
71. The jaw of a great white shark is more powerful than a jungle cat's jaw.
72. If you want to know which species are the coolest sharks then it won't be the Mako or the Great White as these are partially warm-blooded and can raise their temperature to close to that of the water.
73. There is a Greenland shark in the North Atlantic ocean that scientists believe to be 512 years old.
74. Hammerhead sharks use their head to pin string rays to the seafloor.
75. Although called a whale shark, they are actually the world's largest living species of fish.
76. The whale shark is often referred to as the 'gentle giant' as although it can grow up to 12m in length, it cannot bite or chew.
77. Whale sharks don't move very quickly, averaging just three miles per hour.
78. Tiger sharks will eat pretty much anything and the stomach contents from various tiger sharks have included license plates, a bag of money and even other sharks,
79. The blue shark can give birth to as many as 135 in just one litter.
80. Dwarf lantern sharks are very small sharks indeed, measuring less than the width of a human hand.
81. Great white sharks have an incredibly good sense of smell and can detect the equivalent of one drop of blood in an Olympic-sized swimming pool.
82. The skin of a whale shark is six inches thick.
83. Great white sharks can travel for days on end and have been known to travel distances of over 2,500 miles.
84. Hammerhead sharks have a 360-degree vision which is great for finding prey.
85. Basking sharks are the UK's largest fish, growing up to 11 metres long.
Shark Facts That Might Surprise You
Every fact about sharks in this section is guaranteed to make you say 'wow!' as they are the most surprising facts we came across during our research including some startling bull shark facts.
86. Not all sharks live in the ocean and there are a few species that inhabit lakes and rivers instead.
87. Bull sharks have evolved to be able to live in both freshwater and saltwater.
88. Shark attacks are actually very uncommon and lightning strikes are considered more deadly.
89. Deaths caused by hippos, deers and cows are more common than shark attacks.
90. Sharks don't really have natural predators and their greatest threat is humans, but some scientists suggest that sharks might actually be scared of other sea animals such as killer whales and dolphins.
91. When sharks get flipped over they go into a trance-like state called tonic immobility.
92. The spot pattern on each whale shark is totally unique, just like fingerprints.
93. The goblin shark is often considered the ugliest of all the species. It has pink skin and a long, flat snout.
94. Despite being great swimmers, sharks can only swim forwards.
95. The largest great white ever recorded is named Deep Blue weighs a staggering 4000 pounds.
96. Scientists can determine the age of a shark by counting the rings on their vertebrae.
97. Some hammerhead sharks live in groups, making them one of the more social species.
98. Cookiecutter sharks are called so because of the mark they leave behind when they take a chunk from their prey.
99. Shark embryos can sense danger whilst they are in their egg sacks.
100. The megamouth shark feeds on krill and was first documented in 1976.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for 100 Thrilling Shark Facts That Kids Will Love then why not take a look at blue crab facts, or clownfish facts?
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