July 14th is Shark Awareness Day, a day to learn more about sharks and their importance to our marine ecosystems.
While sharks can seem quite terrifying with all of their sharp teeth, your odds of having a negative encounter are low. Here are a few interesting facts you may not yet know about sharks.
1.) Sharks can sense pressure change. When barometric pressure drops as a hurricane approaches, sharks know to swim to deeper water to avoid choppy surf.
2.) We age sharks like trees. Much like we count the rings on a tree to determine its age, we do the same with a shark’s vertebrae.
3.) Being at the top of the food chain, sharks help keep different marine populations in check. The balance is important to any ecosystem.
4.) A shark’s skin feels like sand paper. It has tiny teeth-like scales. These are called dermal denticles and they help reduce friction while the shark is swimming.
5.) Different types of sharks reproduce in different ways. Some are egg-laying, some are live-bearing. The gestation period also varies. For some it could be a few years!
6.) For every human killed by a shark, humans kill about two million sharks. There aren’t many shark attacks or human deaths. The average stands at 19 attacks per year with one fatality every two years.
7.) While many sharks have to keep swimming to keep up their oxygen intake, some such as angel and nurse sharks, have a spiracle that supplies the shark with oxygen when it is not in motion.
8.) Sharks have REALLY good eyesight. Their eyes allow them to not only see color, but see vividly at night as well.