Shark News, 11 August, 2012 : Shark Week begins Sunday. One of the great human stories for thousands of years is the individual facing something this grand and awesome yet also this mysterious and frightening. One response is to fight it. Another is to just stand there and be reverent. And that is why Shark Week never loses its appeal with viewers
Last year, the summer programming phenomenon of Discovery Channel attracted 26.6 million viewers. The Shark Week specials get up close and personal with these amazing predators. The encounter puts emphasis on education – on understanding how much we’ve learned about sharks and how much we still can learn.
There are no vegetarian sharks
Sharks will sink if they stop swimming
Great White sharks can go three months between meals
Shark Week has done more than its share to take a bite out of the mystery and myths that have surrounded sharks for centuries. As our understanding of sharks has improved, so has the technology used to film and follow them. That adds a jaw-dropping aspect to the footage captured each year for the Shark Week natural history specials.
Shark Week begins at 9 p.m. Sunday the Discovery Channel.
Twenty-five facts about sharks according to the Discovery Channel:
1. Sharks have existed almost unchanged for 400 million years, since long before the dinosaur.
2. It’s impossible to sneak up on a shark, because their eyes are on the sides of their heads and most can see almost as well behind them as they can in front. But they do have two blind spots: one in the front of their snouts and one directly behind their heads.
3. You can tell how old a shark is by counting the rings on its vertebrae, much like a tree.
4. A great white shark can lose 1,000 teeth in a year. It takes most humans seven years to lose their 20 baby teeth.
5. A shark may lose and grow up to 30,000 teeth in its lifetime — hardly an issue when it can take as few as three days to grow a replacement.
6. Developing pups of the sand tiger shark would give Hannibal Lecter a run for his money. They practice intrauterine cannibalism. (As they grow, they begin to eat their brothers and sisters until, eventually, only two sharks are born — one from each of the mother’s two uteruses.)
7. A shark can detect the electrical impulse emitted by a standard AA battery one mile away.
8. Two-thirds of a shark’s brain is dedicated to its sense of smell.
9. A lemon shark can smell one drop of blood in an Olympic-size pool.
10. Further proving sharks are the ultimate hunters, they can detect whether a scent is coming from their right or left nostril to better help them track down their prey.
11. Cookie-cutter sharks may be small, but they’re gutsy. They use their sawlike jaws to feed on pieces of whale blubber from living whales.
12. Both the largest and the second-largest sharks in the world, the whale shark and the basking shark, are harmless plankton eaters.
13. The world’s smallest shark, the pygmy shark, is 6 inches long when fully grown.
14. The bull shark can live in fresh water or salt water and has been known to travel as far north as Indiana via the Ohio River and Red Wing, Minn., via the Mississippi.
15. Sharks will sink if they stop swimming.
16. Sharks have no bones. Their skeletons are made up entirely of cartilage. When a shark dies, salt from the ocean completely dissolves its skeleton, leaving only the teeth behind.
17. A large great white shark can go three months between meals.
18. There are no vegetarian sharks.
19. When hatched, zebra sharks are dark black with white vertical stripes, but, as they age, they turn yellow with dark black spots, resembling a leopard.
20. The world’s fastest shark, the salmon shark, can swim up to 55 miles per hour. (Michael Phelps can swim 5 miles per hour).
21. The shortfin mako shark can accelerate faster than a Porsche.
22. Juvenile hammerheads have been known to “suntan” in shallow waters to improve their counter shading before moving into deeper waters.
23. Tiger shark teeth are strong and sharp enough to tear through the shells of sea turtles.
24. The longest migration documented in sharks is a great white that traveled 12,400 miles from South Africa to Australia and back in less than nine months.
25. You are more likely to be killed by a falling coconut than by a shark.