Saw Shark Facts

Moumita Dutta
Feb 13, 2023 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Diya Patel
Kids will love to read interesting saw shark facts such as the function of their saw-like snout.

The saw shark (Pristiophorus cirratus) belongs to the order Pristiophoriformes, family Pristiophoridae. Typically found in the ocean depths of the eastern Indian Ocean and off the coast of southern Australia, they are unique and different from other sharks.

Generally, sharks have a semi-circular mouth, but the saw shark species have a uniquely structured long and slender snout. The snout protrudes from the head, with sharp teeth lining the circular saw shark jawline.

There are nine other species of saw sharks which are: six-gill saw sharks, shortnose or southern saw sharks, longnose saw sharks or common saw sharks, tropical saw sharks, Japanese saw sharks, Lana's saw shark, African dwarf saw sharks, and the Bahamas saw sharks.

Their unique body structure helps them to brush over the ocean waters looking for their prey, creating an electrostatic magnetic field around them to locate and attack prey and enemies.

These marine creatures are loners by nature and become anxious and aggressive when disturbed. However, some of the species are known to form group called schools. The meat of the saw sharks is a popular delicacy in countries of southern Australia and New Zealand for which they are hunted by humans.

However, in recent times they are conserved in fisheries for maintaining their population size. People often get confused between a saw shark and a sawfish. But both are different species of marine creatures.

Had fun reading about the long-jawed saw sharks? Read more interesting saw shark facts below.

Read interesting and fun facts about two other species of sharks, the nurse shark and the basking shark.

Saw Shark Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a saw shark?

Saw shark (Pristiophorus cirratus) is a species of sharks living near the coastal marine waters and on superficial depths of the ocean floor.

What class of animal does a saw shark belong to?

This longnose saw shark species of sharks belongs to the class of Chondrichthyes.

How many saw sharks are there in the world?

At present, the population size of this marine species is not exactly known. But their population size is kept in check by the Australian countries by preserving and breeding them in marine fisheries. The population size of saw sharks is under control and they are not a threatened species.

Where does a saw shark live?

The saw shark is a species of marine fish. They live in the temperate and tropical marine waters, on the ocean floor of the continental shelf.

What is a saw shark's habitat?

Saw sharks prefer living in warm marine waters. Saw sharks are mostly found in the eastern Indian and southern Pacific Oceans near Australia camouflaged in the sands of the continental shelves. They can live in deep waters up to 1,012 ft (308.4 m).

Who do saw sharks live with?

A saw shark prefers to live a solitary life. But when in danger, other saw sharks reach out for help. In the months of mating, saw sharks are found in groups of males and females, looking for their perfect match.

How long does a saw shark live?

The lifespan of a saw shark ranges between nine and 15 years.

How do they reproduce?

The mating of saw sharks is seasonal, but the females mate every two years. The young saw sharks are born during the winter months in the shallow coastal areas. The females undergo a 12 month long gestation period, after which up to 22 offspring are born.

On the underside of a pup, its teeth remain folded on its snout to save the mother shark from injuries. The pups are nourished by their parents up to two years of age. Thereafter, they mature and can set out for hunting independently.

What is their conservation status?

The longnose saw shark is a species of Least Concern in the Red List of IUCN. But there is an increasing likelihood of it becoming a threatened fish species. Human and saw shark interaction is the only threat to their existence. In Australia, the meat of the saw sharks is an appetizing dish.

Indiscriminate fishing threatens their survival. Australia's fisheries conservation rules have now imposed strict laws banning the overfishing of these sharks. Hence, at present, they are well conserved, and their population size is kept in check.

Saw Sharks Fun Facts

What do saw sharks look like?

As the name suggests, a saw head shark with a saw nose resembles a sharp saw cutter. This saw blade shark has a slender and elongated snout with alternate big and small sharp teeth.

The saw tooth shark has five-gill slits on the sides of its head and a pair of barbels arising out of its rostrum.

They have a pair of dorsal fins and no anal fins.

If we talk about the sawfish vs saw shark, the basic difference between them is that the fish is larger, having gill slits at the underside of their body. A saw bill shark uses its long nose snout loaded with sharp teeth and electroreceptors on its rostrum to detect prey and ward off predators in the sea.

How cute are they?

The common saw shark or the shark with a saw looks both cute and dangerous. While the sharp saw shark tooth makes it look dangerous, the eyes and barbels protruding from its long nose make it look cute.

On a scale of one to 10, this unique fish of the southern and eastern oceans can be given a seven for its cuteness.

How do they communicate?

The species of the longnose saw sharks cannot communicate verbally. This means they do not give out sounds as a means of communication.

In the depth of marine habitat where sunlight barely penetrates, especially in the deep southern Pacific waters, the scope of visual communication is limited. They use barbels with electroreceptors attached to their longnose rostrum for mating, warding off predators, detecting prey,  and immobilizing their enemy.

How big is a saw shark?

The common saw shark (Pristiophorus cirratus) is the most common species of saw sharks. They grow as big as 5ft (1.5 m). A saw shark is seven times bigger than a jellyfish. They are 20 times smaller than a blue whale.

How fast can a saw shark swim?

Being a species of sharks, the saw-nosed shark has an average swimming velocity of 5 mph (8 kph), similar to other sharks.

How much does a saw shark weigh?

A saw shark weighs around 18.7 lb (8.5 kg).

What are their male and female names of the species?

The male and female saw-toothed shark does not have any specific names.

What would you call a baby saw shark?

A baby saw shark is called a pup.

What do they eat?

Saw sharks are carnivorous in nature. They prey on small fish, squids, crustaceans, and other marine creatures.

It detects its prey using the electroreceptors present in its saw-like slender nose. Swiftly moving towards the prey using the long saw shark nose, it attacks by hitting the prey left and right. The prey becomes immobilized, and then the saw shark feeds on it with its razor-sharp teeth.

Are they aggressive?

Saw sharks of order Pristiophoriformes are solitary animals, occasionally found in groups called schools. They live peacefully in the depths of the ocean, but when they are seeking their prey or defending themselves from their predators, they become violent.

Unless provoked, a saw shark is not dangerous to people. It can get very aggressive and use its nose to seriously hurt people.

Would they make a good pet?

Saw sharks are aquatic animals, and replicating their habitat is not possible. Also, they are wild and have the potential to be extremely dangerous, hurting humans. So it is not a good idea to have saw shark as a pet.

Did You Know...

Female saw sharks are longer in length than males.

Each saw shark has 19 to 25 rostral teeth on either side of the head.

Since they have poor eyesight, they cannot see easily or locate their prey without electroreceptors. Electroreceptors present in their body lies in an organ known as the ampullae of Lorenzini.

Saw sharks can grow new teeth if lost, but once a sawfish loses its teeth, it's gone forever.

Female saw sharks are ovoviviparous. They can hatch their eggs inside their own bodies after a 12-month long gestation period.

The elongated slender snout forms about half the body size of the saw sharks and its length can reach up to 31.5-35.3 in (80-90 cm).

A saw jaw shark is a solitary fish but is sometimes found in groups called a school of saw sharks.

How do saw sharks kill their prey?

Saw sharks first detect their prey via the electroreceptors of their snouts. They use their saw-edged snout to kill their prey. Quick, side-to-side movements of the snout chops up the prey into pieces that can be devoured with ease.

What do saw sharks look like when they're born?

Saw shark pups are born with folded teeth to protect the mother from severe injuries during birth. They are born fully developed except for the teeth, which start to develop after the mother gives birth.

After the birth, pups are of the size of about 12 in (30.4 cm) only. Their full-body growth and development take up to 12 months.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish including the thresher shark and the Caribbean reef shark.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one of our Saw shark coloring pages.

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

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Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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Fact-checked by Diya Patel

Bachelor of Science specializing in in Computer Science

Diya Patel picture

Diya PatelBachelor of Science specializing in in Computer Science

A member of Kidadl's fact-checking team, Diya is currently pursuing a degree in Computer Science from Ahmedabad University with an interest in exploring other fields. As part of her degree, she has taken classes in communications and writing to expand her knowledge and skills.

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