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Shark Gifts

Well-known species such as the great white shark, tiger shark, and the hammerhead are apex predators, at the top of the underwater food chain. Their extraordinary skills as predators fascinate and frighten humans, even as their survival is under serious threat from fishing and other human activities.

Different Species of Sharks

Different Species of Sharks

There are 440 different species of sharks. However, they comprise less than 1 percent of all living fish. Sharks are widely considered to be the apex predators of the ocean; their place is near, or at the top of the food chain. However, not all sharks fit this description, and many arenít aggressive at all. Some of the most well-known sharks include the extinct megalodon shark, the great white shark, the tiger shark, the bull shark, the oceanic whitetip shark, and the hammerhead shark.

Megalodon Shark
The extinct megalodon shark, an ancient ancestor of the great white shark, is thought to have reached a maximum length of 67 feet, and a maximum weight of 228,000 pounds. The teeth of a megaladon shark reached lengths of over 7 inches. These dimensions make it the largest prehistoric shark, and the largest marine predator ever to have lived on Earth. Though the cause of the megalodon shark's extinction is unknown, popular theories suggest that a drop in the ocean's temperature and damage to the megalodon's food supply contributed largely to its extinction.

Great White Shark
The great white shark is the species of shark that is responsible for by far the most recorded attacks on humans. However, despite this statistic, great white sharks are not known to target humans, and tend to feed largely on seals. The great white shark is the largest predatory fish in the ocean, and typically reaches a maximum length of 20 feet and maximum weight of 5,000 pounds, although the largest great white shark is thought to have been 23 feet long and weighed of 5,500 pounds.

Tiger Shark
The tiger shark is the shark with the second highest number of recorded attacks on humans. This statistic can likely be accounted for by tiger sharks' tendency to stay in shallow water and willingness to eat anything. The tiger shark typically reaches a maximum length of 14 feet and maximum weight of 1,400 pounds, although the largest confirmed tiger shark was 24 feet long and weighed 6,900 pounds.

Bull Shark
The bull shark closely follows the tiger shark in the number of recorded attacks on humans, having the third highest number of recorded attacks. The bull shark typically reaches a maximum length of nearly 12 feet and maximum weight of 505 pounds. Unlike most sharks, bull sharks tolerate fresh water, and can therefore be found in oceans, estuaries, rivers, and lakes around the world. However, they tend to favor shallow, coastal waters.

Oceanic Whitetip Shark
The oceanic whitetip shark is responsible for more fatal attacks on humans than all other species combined. They are known for preying on survivors of shipwrecks or aircraft crashes. However, such incidents are not included in the common shark attack data, so the oceanic whitetip shark is not held accountable for the highest number of recorded shark attacks (fatal and non-fatal). The oceanic whitetip shark typically reaches a maximum length of 11 feet, although the largest oceanic whitetip shark is thought to have been 13 feet long with a weight of 370 pounds.

Hammerhead Shark
Hammerhead sharks have the seventh highest number of recorded attacks on humans. There are nine separate species of hammerhead sharks, which typically reach a maximum length of nearly 12 feet and a maximum weight of 500 pounds. The largest hammerhead shark, however, is thought to have been 20 feet in length. The largest confirmed weight of a hammerhead shark was 1,280 pounds; however, the shark was pregnant when this figure was recorded, accounting for its unusually high weight.

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Shark Gifts




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