Most of you have probably seen the movie Jaws that came out in 1975. A terrible, devil shark terrorizes a community and some old dudes hunt him down. This film was a huge success, but a wave of terror swept across America. Suddenly, everybody of water was infested with these man-eating beast that had a thirst for blood and was coming for YOU. There were shark-hunting tournaments and a general aggressive attitude towards sharks. Everyone hated sharks and it’s taken us a long time to undo the damage that the movie did. In fact, Steven Spielberg, the director of the movie, ended up becoming a huge advocate and defender of sharks. He has expressed major regret for the result that his movie had upon the public and how they treated and thought of sharks.
Fast forward 13 years and you get the premiere of Shark Week. Fast forward even more, to 2015, and Shark Week is now being broadcasted in at least 72 countries around the world. Finally, more people are starting to appreciate sharks for the magnificent creatures that they are. It’s been a huge success, with people celebrating with it every summer. There are episodes that feature the top 10 most dangerous sharks, reenactments of ferocious shark attacks, and a lot of them that show researchers and their awesome, action-packed studies. But people aren’t scared. These episodes are thrilling! There is an admiration for sharks, with more and more support going towards protecting them in their natural habitat and studying their species altogether. Keep an eye out for Shark Week 2016, which starts Sunday, July 5th.
Even though I am a huge fan of sharks and have always admired them, I’m terrified of the ocean. I can’t get over the fact that I can’t see what’s around me and I always feel paranoid that I’ll be attacked or bit. I know it’s a little unrealistic but, hey, I live 10 minutes from the warm oceans of Southern California that sharks just love. I’m also aware that I can’t blame them if I am actually attacked because I know it’s not my home, it’s theirs, and I really have no right to be there.
Below are some awesome facts about my favorite sharks.
- A Bull Shark has two uteruses and starts off with multiple pups in there. But oddly enough, only two are birthed. There is a fight to the death that takes place in the womb as the pups eat their brothers and sisters. Two little baby sharks will be victorious in their cannibalistic actions and win the ultimate prize of being born into the top of the food chain. Some researchers have even been bitten by those pups while they had their hands in the mommy shark’s tummy.
- Sharkskin is made up of a ton of small teeth!! They’re called dermal denticles and they’re hard and curved, running all over their bodies. It creates a sort of rough, sandpapery kind of texture. So if you run your hand down their back, towards their caudal fin, or back tail I guess, it will go smoothly. But run it up towards its head and it’ll cut up your hand.
- Sharks have little receptors right under the surface of their skin called Ampullae of Lorenzini. They use them to detect electricity underwater. This can be found in some other marine animals, but sharks are the most sensitive to them. Sharks can use this sense instead of eyes and, especially if they can’t see super well, use these magical electric senses. They can even zero in on prey when they feel their muscle contractions, creating a kind of ripple of energy around them, or even use it to find yummy snacks that are hiding under the sand.
To sum it all up, sharks are powerfully impressive rulers of the sea and we must protect them and their reputation at all costs.
Also, check out this super awesome app, Shark Tracker:
OCEARCH’s Global Shark Tracker lets you observe the navigational pattern of sharks that have been tagged with satellite tracking technology all for the purpose of shark conservation.
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