Gansbaai Shark Facts

Facts and Information about Sharks

Due to their elusiveness and globetrotting habits not much is known about Sharks. However, man’s constant search for knowledge and learning about the great unknown has led to some interesting discoveries over the years. Here are some general facts about Sharks that are broadly accepted by scientists and shark experts:

  1. The Whale Shark is the world’s largest fish and is estimated to live up to 150 years, making it the longest –living creatures on earth. 
  2. The Tiger Shark is considered to be one of the most dangerous Sharks as it is the most common large shark and will eat anything that fits into its mouth.
  3. The most numerous Sharks found are the Oceanic Whitetip and Spiny Dogfish Sharks.
  4. Amanzimtoti Beach in South Africa is the most dangerous beach in the world for Shark attacks.
  5. The Shortfin Mako Shark is the fastest shark and one of the fastest fish in the world, reaching speeds of up to 31 miles per hour (50 kilometres).
  6. The smallest Shark is the Dwarf Shark, measuring in at an average 4 inches.
  7. The Nurse Shark is responsible for most Shark bites, although they are not fatal.
  8. The Thresher Shark has the longest tail of any Shark, its tail is about as long as its body.
  9. The Bull Shark has been known to live in freshwater rivers, lakes and lagoons.
  10. Tiger Shark mothers have 2 uteri which allow them to give to 2 pups at a time.
  11. Blue Sharks are among the most threatened Sharks in the world. Overfishing and the traing in Shark fins have led to a rapid decline in their numbers and scientists are concerned about their future recovery.
  12. The Frilled Shark’s lizard-like head, rounded snout and circular mouth filled with more than 300 spiny teeth has earned it the nickname of the modern Loch Ness monster. Also due to its ancient ancestry and “primitive” characteristics, it has been described as a “living fossil”.
  13. Whale Sharks are known to have very big families as the females can give birth to up to 300 pups in one litter.
  14. Great White Sharks can see in both day time and night time and also see in colour.
  15. Sharks are believed to be over 400 million years old, which means they predate practically everything that has a spine, including humans and dinosaurs.
  16. The way of birth of baby Sharks depend on the species. Some are born live and others, like the Horn Shark, hatch from egg cases commonly known as “mermaid purses”.
  17. Angel Sharks, also known as sand devils, dig themselves into piles of sand and then use this cover to catch unsuspecting prey.
  18. Some female Sharks use sperm from multiple males to fertilize a single litter to keep the gene pool going. This results in pups being half-siblings even though they are born at the same time.
  19. Sharks have tiny nodules on their noses known as ampullae of Lorenzini which assists them in their sixth sense, electroreception. These nodules sense electrical pulses in the water which help Sharks to navigate and locate their prey.
  20. Though they might be scary looking with their large, gaping mouths Whale Sharks and Megamouth Sharks should not be feared as they filter-feeders. They use their large mouths many teeth to capture tiny fish and plankton and make for excellent diving partners.
  21. Swell Sharks, so named for their ability to swallow large amounts of air or water which doubles their body size to fend of predators, is known to emit a bark-like sound and then to release the air or water.
  22. Sharks do not have scales like other fish, but instead their skin is covered in dermal denticles which consist of small plates that are covered in enamel.
  23. The gestation period for Sharks can last anywhere between 2 months and 2 years depending on thespecies.
  24. The Megamouth Shark wasn’t discovered until 1976 and there have been less than 50 sightings of this scarce species.
  25. Less than 5 people are killed by Sharks per year, in comparison to 100 million Sharks being killed by humans every year.
  26. Great White Sharks give birth to live young and offer no parental care after birth, the baby Sharks head out to sea ready to feed and fend for themselves.
  27. Most fish have one gill slit (organ for breathing) on each side of its body, in comparison to Sharks that may have up to 7 gill slits on each side.
  28. The Wobbegong Shark, also known as Carpet Sharks, is mostly nocturnal and was believed to be extinct until one was discovered off the coast of Japan in 1898.
  29. The Goblin Shark with its pinkish flesh and long pointed snout is one of the least known creatures of the depths and definitely the strangest looking shark. They were believed to be extinct for over 100 million years, until one was discovered off the coast Japan in 1898.
  30. More people are killed every year by chairs and toasters than Sharks.