So, shark fan, are you? Come to think of it, why not? They have been around our oceans far longer than we have existed – since the Devonian era, which is like 400 million years ago. They are also tough enough to have survived not one or two, but five planetary extinctions which killed most life on earth. Like the last one 65 million years ago which zapped off the dinosaurs. But nope, not the sharks. They are here to stay. Forever. This might explain why they always have a toothy smirk on their faces. They know something we do not.
We might pop. They will still survive. Some 30 to 50 shark attacks are reported each year out of which only 5-10 turn fatal. Which means that toothy as they may be; sharks don’t have a people penchant! If they did, there would be hundreds of people dying in all waters in the world. Now that does not happen. Does it? On the flip side; while we fear sharks and view them with unabashed horror, it’s the sharks that need to run screaming from their mommas when they see humans. Why? Because humans kill more than a 100 million sharks each year. And before you clap your hands in glee at the end of these voracious eaters, don’t. Wiping of sharks is like killing off all the lions and the tigers – the oceans will not be able to sustain all that fish and end up dying itself. Where, pray, will we end up then?
On that grim note, solve this real or fake quiz on what all has ended up being shark bait in the world’s oceans, to see if your views on sharks are real, or fake!
A Great White was once found with the remnants of a whole dinghy in its stomach.
What is 20-feet long, can nibble off a limb in a second and is one of the oldest things around in the ocean? A Great White or the White Death. Sharks are like the wise men of the Earth. What’s older than sharks? Pretty much nothing considering they have been in the ocean for more than 400 million years. They predate practically everything that has a spine, be it humans or even dinosaurs. And The Great White is responsible for the most attacks of human, fatal or otherwise.
Perhaps the most surprising find in a shark's belly was an AK-47 rifle, loaded to go.
We may be playing devil's advocate here but if you thought sharks were very dangerous to a human being (and yes, they are), we bring you something that kills far more people in a year on average than sharks! The coconut. Funnily enough, you are more likely to be killed by a falling coconut than by a shark. Almost 150 people are killed each year by falling coconuts. Compared to that, sharks end up scoring only 4-12 people a year. Ergo, coconuts are way more dangerous than sharks!
The stomach contents of a rather large Great White had car parts, including the bumper and windshield.
So Great White sharks eat 11 tons of food a year! If you compare that to a well-built human being, we eat closer to half a ton of food every year. To all those with a fear of sharks, they are at the top of the food chain in the underwater jungle, and their eating habits and numbers affect the population of all sea life. Without large sharks, octopus populations would increase and the number of lobsters would go down since they are one of the octopus’ favorite foods.
Remains of a pooch were discovered in a shark's belly.
Despite contrary belief, sharks don’t really like humans. Or rather, they don't like the taste of us. Humans are rarely, if ever, completely gobbled up by a shark. Mostly it's an arm or a leg or even half of a limb - and while it's horrific and gory for us - to the shark, it's just a "tasting menu". They bite to see if they like it. Mostly, they don't. Usually, the reason a shark will bite is out of mistaken identity (humans on surfboard look like seals) or idle curiosity.
Help! The shark ate my fur coat!
So do you think that a shark would go for a fur coat? But wondering how a fur coat ended up in an ocean? Well, maybe it was dropped into the waves by accident by a cruise tourist in frigid waters. Or maybe a cargo ship lost some valuable cargo in stormy waters. Do you think it is even possible? An interesting fact about sharks: their skeletons are made entirely of cartilage which is elastic tissue and softer than bones. When a shark dies, the salty sea water dissolves its skeleton, leaving only the teeth behind!
Probably the goriest contents of a shark stomach are human remains.
An interesting fact about sharks is that they are susceptible to the moon’s control of ocean tides. So the phase of the moon not only controls the tides but also the ends up affecting the sharks’ eating habits. In that, it draws them closer to shore and unfortunately, closer to humans. This leads to more of shark attacks then. Also, most of the sharks are no man-eating terrors of the sea for 97% species of shark, are harmless to humans.
So, heard about that shark that ate a giraffe?
There's a common myth that sharks don’t attack humans in the middle of the day. That does not, in any way, hint of a siesta time of sharks! That's mostly so because most sea and sand worshippers get out of the water to rest or eat at lunchtime... Since there are no humans in the water, well, there are no shark attacks on human! Remember that sharks don’t follow the same three meals-a-day schedule as we do, they eat when they can, and whatever they can...
Surely a shark couldn't have eaten a reindeer... Is the news real?
Unlike us mere mortals whose bones and joints tend to remain fixed or manage to pivot at most; a shark can dislocate and protrude its upper jaw to help it grab and hang onto prey. Those razor sharp teeth help hook onto the flesh and the rapid back and forth motion that a shark makes, tears off flesh for a tasty morsel. Not a good way to go at all. In case you thought sharks lived only in warm waters, meet the Greenland shark of the frigid Arctic and Antarctic waters.
Sharks seem to have developed a taste for video cameras.
More than once a diver or documentary crew has had their video equipment curiously butted at by a shark. This happens because many documentary crews often feed sharks while filming them and these hungry predators try to size up the cameras and other equipment, sometimes even the divers themselves, to scent out viable food. Also, everyone wants a good shot of those scary teeth so filmmakers tend to stick their cameras right in the shark's face, near their mouths to get those once in a lifetime shots.
In the 19th century, a shark was found with a bottle of wine in its stomach.
Frankly, sharks have always had a bit of a bad rap and Peter Benchley's novel and the subsequent movie Jaws did not help these toothy predators either. But Jaws wasn’t the first time sharks have been given a bad name and will not be the last either. Remember Sharknado? Anyhow, the Greek historian, Herodotus claimed that a group of sharks destroyed a Persian fleet in 5th century B.C. Must have been big badass sharks to have earned such a negative fame...
A polar bear inside a shark? You are kidding me!
Sharks can easily go to about 20 feet in length. And then comes the whale shark, the largest species that can reach up to 46 feet in length. That said; whale sharks feed on plankton! The pygmy sharks are among the tiniest and measure an average of 8 inches (20 centimeters) in length. They can also make their own light, an evolutionary tool that helps them hunt in the deep underwaters they dive down to, to find a meal. Hard to imagine a polar bear being shark meal then.
Sharks have been found with license plates in their stomach though...
So some shark species are not very discerning when it comes to snacking. For them, prey is anything that moves, twinkles, glints, floats or just otherwise shifts from its erstwhile location. We are assuming that sharks are simply not as intelligent and keen-minded as we thought they were. For while they are incredible hunters who will eat just about anything they can catch, it's the what they catch that makes for unbelievable stomach contents! Seriously fish, use those Omega-3s and power up those brains.
Do you think a shark could have been found with a chicken coop in it?
Sharks have something called electroreception that allows them to notice the smallest changes in the electricity conducted through salt water. Blood in the water changes its conductivity. So, sharks don’t see blood and attack: They sense and smell the blood through the electrical changes in the water and then go for the kill. That said; they have an astounding sense of smell that is so powerful, they can detect a single drop of blood spilled in an Olympic-sized pool. Whoa!
Some sharks even love to down some cans of beer or coke...
So along with having an excellent sense of smell, sharks can also see in murky water. This is because of a special feature that sharks have which makes their eyes more sensitive to light. Sharks possess a membrane in the back of the eyes called the tapetum lucidum. This reflects sunlight back into the eye, so the shark can make more use of what little light is there in the deep underwaters. That said, that doesn't mean they can really figure out what they ate was food or not.
Among the various animals that sharks eat, a porcupine was found in a shark's belly!
Sharks eat when they can, for they need plenty fuel to sustain their large bodies in cold waters. And they eat all kinds of fish including other sharks as well, sometimes even indulging in cannibalism to satisfy their endless appetite. Penguins and seals are all part of their diet but sometimes they manage to dig their teeth into land animals as well. The reindeer is a prime example. So what other animals do you think a shark might end up eating if it gets an opportunity?
Sharks seem to have a penchant for shiny things including medallions.
To be honest, sharks do commit rather horrible atrocities against humans sometimes. One of the worst shark attacks in history was when the USS Indianapolis sank in the Philippine Sea near Guam during World War II. Nearly 900 sailors were stranded four days. How many fell victim to sharks is not known but when help arrived, only 316 people were still alive. Wonder if the sharks fell prey to the lure of the blood of injured soldiers or were attracted by their glinty dog tags and metal knick knacks.
A fisherman once found an intact camel's head inside a shark while gutting it.
So yes, the commonest picture of a shark is the Great White with all its fangs bared, capable of easily snapping up land animals of big sizes if it did have that chance. But not all sharks are easily identifiable as predators, like the cookiecutter shark. It camouflages itself - the underside glows and makes it look like a much smaller fish. Other predators mistake this shark for a snack and come closer. After which the cookie cutter takes a bite out of them and vamooses.
Sharks remains are often found inside bigger sharks.
It’s a shark-eat-shark world, at least in the uterus. There have been "horrific" videos showing shark embryos sample each other. When the unborn embryos begin to develop teeth in some species, they eat off their unborn siblings sharing the womb space with them until one shark remains. This is known as intrauterine cannibalism. And while it sounds pretty horrific to us "genteel" sorts, it's just another way for the developing shark to get more nutrients, get bigger and become top dog of its waters once it's born.
A shark was caught "red-handed" with a bag of money in it!
Despite their penchant for eating just about anything, sharks have much more senses than humans do. They have an internal barometer, that is actioned by the lateral line organs. When solid objects glide through the water, they create waves of pressure. The shark can feel this pressure almost like a touch. By sensing these pressure waves, a shark can detect both the movement and direction of the object and so it's a quick dart and a chomp for them. Sometimes though, the object doesn't turn out to be food at all!
A tiger shark mayhave munched on a tire or two...
Tiger sharks are often called the garbage cans of the ocean and tend to be thoughtless and indiscriminate feeders. Found in tropical and temperate waters, it's one big badass predator and can grow up to five meters! Responsible for the second most number of attacks on humans (the first being the Great White), they are now a near-threatened species considering the human penchant for "finning" and fishing. The sharks may be at the apex of the food chain but sometimes even top dogs get hunted too!
In the 16th century, a shark was found with an intact suit of armor in its belly!
It may sound like a bit of a buzzkill but in fact, Great White sharks are picky eaters. They don't just eat anything or everything. Their diet requires a lot of fat which is why seals are often their favorite snack. If a meal is lacking in nutrients, the Great White will take one huge bite and then leave the rest. The first bite itself will tell the shark if the meal will satisfy its nutritional needs or not. The strange stomach contents are anomalies.
Even a cannonball was discovered in a shark's belly, and the shark was thriving.
So shark attacks often take humans unaware simply because they can see better, hear better and god forbid if we are dripping blood into the water. If you manage to watch a circling shark and are wondering if it’s about to attack its prey, there are a few clues you can use to judge a yea or a nay: The shark will hunch its back, lower its pectoral fins (the ones near its belly) and swim in zigzag motions toward whatever has caught its fancy - edible or not.
Another inexplicable set of remains in a shark's belly were those of a lion's!
How did a lion, end up in the sea? We might never know. And frankly, most apex predators don't really eat each other but in the animal world, you simply never know. Like cats on land, sharks too stalk their victims when on the hunt. Lions use the tall dry grass to keep out of sight of their intended prey and go into a crouch. Sharks use the dark, murky water to stay far enough away to be hidden, but close enough to strike when the opportunity arises.
Would you believe that drums were found in a shark's belly?
Perhaps the shark was musically inclined? One interesting fact about sharks is that unlike a good night's sleep of 7-8 hours that humans need each night to stay healthy; sharks don’t need sleep at all!In fact, if the shark sleeps in the seawater, it can sink because its body is denser than the water itself. So no rest for the wicked here. Sharks do become very still in what can best be described as resting. A normal part of their living process is continuous motion.
The goriest set of remains has to be the partially digested body of mermaid, so found in a Great White's belly.
So mermaids are known to be mythical sea creatures with a body half human and half fish. Apparently, the top half is human and the bottom half a fish - and somehow so many different movies have been made about mermaids that there are some people on a lifelong quest to find one. So when the news hit that a shark had been found with the partially digested body of a mermaid in its belly, it spread like wildfire. Were you a believer as well?