Sharks—They Aren’t Out to Get Us!
Most of us have seen some scary but ridiculous and misleading movies about sharks, but how much do we actually know about these animals? And what are they really like?
Let’s start with great white sharks—possibly the most misunderstood animal in the world. Did you know that great whites don’t like to fight? They will even avoid confrontations over food by instead entering into “tail slapping” contests, which involves spraying each other with water. The best tail slapper gets the meal!
Great white sharks are warm-blooded, keeping their temperature above that of the water around them They are also known to interact with each other and communicate through body language.
There are many different species of shark, and they all have different and amazing characteristics. One of the most interesting is the porbeagle shark, which has been observed several times in groups of up to 20 individuals engaging in what appears to be play. They will toss around floating lumber and seaweed and even roll over and over again in kelp before chasing each other—while trailing bits of kelp behind them!
What humans should really fear is a world without sharks. Even though sharks are an essential part of the ocean’s ecosystem, we currently slaughter as many as 100 million worldwide every year. This includes tens of millions who are caught for their fins and then thrown back into the sea, where they struggle frantically, unable to swim. These animals are left to die an agonizing death—all so that people can dine on shark fin soup.
As the numbers of sharks decline, the oceans face devastating consequences. These beautiful animals help maintain coral reefs and, as top predators, balance the marine ecosystem.
Sharks are intelligent animals who have an important role to play in this world.
Posted by Claire Fryer