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All about sharrrrrrrrrks!

The oceans are filled with marine life, big and small, fierce and gentle, fast swimmers and slow swimmers, and yet the most recognizable creature of the deep is the SHARK! When you hear the word “shark” what comes into your mind? That is right, huge teeth, fierce hunter, with a telltale fin. Sharks have been swimming in oceans since prehistoric times and are thought of as rulers of the sea.

But are all sharks the same? There are more than 400 different species of sharks swimming in waters around the globe. However, if you go to the beach, it is not likely that you would see one while swimming in the ocean. Most species of sharks live in deep ocean water away from the shore. Almost all sharks are meat eaters, and will eat most anything, even trash thrown in the ocean.

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sandbar-shark

NO BONES ABOUT IT

Sharks are considered ‘cartilaginous fish’ and do not have bones like many other fish. The shark body is made of cartilage, a thick material much like a human’s ear. The cartilage allows the shark to be more buoyant (something that easily floats) and flexible, which is important to the shark’s ability to swim at great speeds and bend or turn with enormous power. The shark’s powerful body is covered with a thick skin that provides protection. The scales on the skin are tougher than the scales on a boney fish and feel like sandpaper. These cold-blooded creatures have evolved and adapted to changes on Earth over millions of years. Their body temperature changes as the water around them becomes warmer or colder. Most sharks must swim all the time to keep their blood circulating throughout the body. The fins on a shark play an important role in the shark’s movement. There are five different fins that are designed to help move and balance the shark as it swims at great speeds or as it floats along gracefully in the currents.

Click on any of the links below for some fun activities you can do at home.

SHARKS 101

Learn all about sharks from our OdySea Aquarium experts!

MORE EDUCATIONAL FUN HERE