Shark Week and Beyond
Learn more about these jawsome predators. The more we know about sharks, the better we can support the conservation, preservation, and restoration of our oceans.
Did You Know . . . ?
- Scientists estimate that there are over 500 types of sharks swimming in the world's oceans, with more being discovered every year. One of our favorites is the shortfin mako - the fastest sharks in the ocean, they zip around at 44 miles per hour, and can travel over 60 miles per day.
- Whether sharks sleep is still a mystery. Scientists suspect, however, that sharks may experience a form of rest that serves the same function as sleep. As long as oxygen-rich water flows across a shark's gills so it can breathe, some sharks can rest motionless. Another study of spiny dogfish shows that its spinal column, not its brain, controls its swimming coordination. So perhaps even a swimming shark can take a nap.
- Sharks have a special sixth sense that we don't have called electroreception. Electroreception is the ability to receive electrical impulses. This sense helps sharks detect the electrical waves that all living creatures give off, making them aware of every living thing immediately in their path.
- Visit Discovery's Sharkopedia for more about sharks.
Dive Deeper with our Shark Books and Toys:
Beyond Myths and Misconceptions
- About 6 people per year die from shark attacks. By contrast, humans kill up to 100 million sharks per year.
- Myth: Sharks deliberately hunt humans. This notion is false. Scientists and organizations like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration agree that sharks don't normally hunt humans. When they attack, it is typically a case of mistaken identity. Without hands, sharks investigate unfamiliar objects and potential food with test bites. Unfortunately, given their many rows of razor sharp teeth, a few shark species can cause an individual to bleed to death with a single bite. However, sharks rarely consume human flesh upon biting, indicating that they ultimately find us unpalatable.
- Myth: Sharks are not important. False. Sharks are absolutely crucial to healthy ocean ecosystems. Many species are now endangered because of hunting, overfishing, and habitat destruction. As sharks species disappear, so too will other ocean species.
- Sharks can learn, remember, and even teach other sharks. Test your shark IQ, and find out how much you really know about these kings of summer.
Learn from Shark DVDs and more:
Save Our SharksSharks are in danger. Scientists have seen crucial populations drop 90% in just one generation. Rather than fearing sharks, people should be afraid for them, as their populations are seriously threatened. Together we can make a difference. Here's how you can advocate for sharks and their fragile ecosystems:
- 10 Things you can do to save the oceans.
- With our partners - Oceana and Surfrider - and our viewers, Discovery is setting out to make waves and build support for the conservation, preservation and restoration of our planet's oceans. Change The Tide is an opportunity to make a positive impact on the waters.
- Follow Discovery's Shark Finbassadors, an initiative bringing together filmmakers, scientists, photographers, artists, and advocates who share a common passion for sharks and their survival. Take inspiration and share their ultimate love letter to sharks.