Sharks Are Jawsome!

For 25 years, the Discovery Channel has been showing Shark Week, a week’s worth of shark-orientated programming meant to educate but with plenty of fear factor. For some people, divers, scientists and people who hang out at the beach, sharks are a reality every day of the year. Like big, bad, beautiful wolves, people have long feared the predators prowling the deep and some shark species were hunted until their numbers were threatened. Sharks both fascinate us and fill us with fear, so here’s an up-close look at great whites, hammerheads, tiger sharks, bull sharks, whale sharks, lemon sharks, gray nurse sharks, and other sharks . . . all sprinkled with shark facts. We think sharks are jawesome and swimming with sharks is a pure adrenaline rush!

When you see sharks, like this Jaws type, wouldn’t you get out of the water? For a quarter of a century, the Discovery Channel has been showing a week’s worth of shark-orientated programming. We’ve gathered 60 shark photos and 10 videos to celebrate Shark Week, but for some divers and researchers who deal with the underwater world every day, every week is Shark Week.

This sharptooth lemon shark (sicklefin) in Australia almost looks like it is smiling. This species grows to about 10 feet (3 meters), but they don’t move off to deep water until they are about 12 – 15 years old.

The hungry predator, a great white shark. While there are about 30 to 50 shark attacks reported yearly, only 5 to 10 are fatal. Despite all the movies showing sharks attacking and eating people, it is rare to be bitten by a shark and even more rare to die from a shark bite.

While this great white might appear to be the mighty Megalodon shark, those are extinct. Megalodon fossils show that these giant sharks could grow to more than 52 feet (16 meters) with teeth about 7.1 inches (180 millimeters) long. A man could sit within its mouth with plenty of room left over.

A deadly great white bite with rows of 300 sharp and serrated triangular teeth.

Great white shark jumping out of water to chomp down on a seal. This fast leap out of the water is called breaching; great whites use their speed and the element of surprise to catch prey. Then they don’t chew, but rip off chunks of meat and swallow it whole.

Adrenaline junkies in a cage, baiting a biting shark. Daredevils divers probably don’t holler out for Mommy!

Shark, the predator. If you were to believe the movies, the headlines, you might believe you had a good chance of being bitten by a deadly and aggressive shark. However, you are more likely to be bitten by another human than by a shark. In fact, you have a bigger chance of dying from a bee, wasp or hornet sting as well as from a dog bite than the chance of being killed by a shark bite

Shark’s teeth om nom nom. It’s no wonder we fear them. Millions of people own a shark tooth since it is usually an expensive beach souvenir, but the color differences depend upon what ocean sediments soaks into the sharp tooth. They can appear to be gray or brown. There are also many white shark teeth, since sharks constantly shed their teeth.

Scuba divers measuring a sand tiger shark which has an average length of 9.8 to 11.2 feet (3.0 to 3.4 meters). Interestingly enough, these sharks are cannibals even before birth since the most developed embryo will feed upon its siblings in the womb. Only the strongest survive due to this a reproductive strategy of intrauterine cannibalism.

Great white shark attacks.

Great White at Guadalupe Mexico. The great white is not the largest shark, but is the biggest predatory fish on Earth. Most reach about 15 feet (4.6 meters) in length, but some grow to more than 20 feet (6 meters) and can weigh 5,000 pounds (2,268 kilograms).

Reef shark surrounded by fish.

Most sharks have sandpaper-rough skin, but this silky shark has smooth skin. They are most often seen deep in tropical waters at a depth of 164 feet (50 meters).

Underwater world of shark predators. As someone who swam with sharks numerous times without a wetsuit, just bikini and exposed flesh, I can guarantee it’s an adrenaline rush when they bump against your legs and brush against your flesh.

Whale Sharks are an average of 40 – 46 feet long and can weigh 66,000 pounds (30 tons). This gorgeous shark species must reach an age of 30 years before it’s old enough to reproduce. They can live for about 60 – 100 years, but are considered a threatened species since they cannot reproduce fast enough to keep up with overfishing.

Bahamas scuba diving with lemon sharks. This species of shark is a favorite among scientists for study since they do well in captivity. Great whites on the other hand will die in captivity because they refuse food.

“The Gathering.” Now that’s a lot of sharks!

A shark’s flesh is made up of between 30 and 80 percent of water

Hammerhead shark, Cocos Island, Costa Rica. This species usually swim in schools during the day, but are solitary at night. There are nine known species of hammerheads which range from 3 to 20 feet (.9 to 6 m) in length and weigh from 500 to 1000 pounds

Translation as follows: ‘The shark week’ under the sea revives one of the largest predators of all time, the ancient Megalodon. It was a real monster, whose length reached 16 meters and weight up to 45 tons. It was the size of a humpback whale, but it was far from peaceful in nature. Two meters wide, its mouth was nearly two and a half feet high. His bite was stronger than T-Rex or any other creature in the Earth’s history.” This was a reconstruction to test the hydraulic shark jaw which could deliver a bite meaner than a million years of other sea monsters.

The beautiful sand tiger shark likes to live close to sandy beaches, thus they were named sandy tiger sharks. This species is threatened and categorized as vulnerable.

Bull sharks with scuba divers. This shark species is agressive and can survive in saltwater and freshwater. It is responsible for most shark attacks reported near shore, including many which were first blamed on great whites. It can travel far up river and bull sharks have even been found in rivers within Indiana and in the Ohio River.

At the Georgia Aquarium there are four whale sharks, two males called Taroko and Yushan, and two females named Alice and Trixie.

Great Hammerhead shark. Of the nine hammerhead species, only three are considered dangerous to humans.

This was labeled as a Megalodon Shark, but that is impossible since they are long extinct. Just the same, it appears humongous when compared to this boat. If it is an adult great white shark, then it can swim up to speeds of 43 mph.

Great White’s sharp jagged teeth from the side. Every year there are more than 100 shark attacks worldwide. Great white are responsible for about 1/3 – 1/2 of those attacks. Most are not fatal as curious great whites partake in “sample biting” and then release rather than preying on humans victims.

Some folks swim with the sharks, but how about feeding one? Yikes! “Joi feeding Carribean reef shark.” There are wet suits that are shark-resistant meaning the teeth are supposed to just slide off.

A Leopard shark swimming in a kelp forest in the 70,000 gallon kelp tank at Scripps Aquarium in La Jolla, California.

Swarming school of hammerheads.

Gray Nurse Shark. This species can grow to 14 feet (4.3 m) and weigh about 730 pounds (330 kg). Just as sharks have an incredible sense of smell for blood, so too do they have amazing hearing. It is believed that sharks can hear their prey from miles away.

This strange-looking shark is a big Basking shark. It’s the second largest living fish, after the whale shark. The basking shark is regarded to be a threatened species, listed as “vulnerable.” The largest ever recorded was 40.3 ft (12.27 m) long. NOAA reminds us that, unlike the Discovery Channel, every week is Shark Week for NOAA.

“Silky sharks waiting by the boat.” The photographer wrote, “For the first time since I began diving I felt a bit uneasy about having bare feet in my fins….

The photographer wrote, “The main tank called the ‘Kuroshio Sea’ holds 7,500-cubic meters (1,981,290 gallons) of water and features the world’s second largest acrylic glass panel, measuring 8.2 meters by 22.5 meters with a thickness of 60 centimeters. Whale sharks and manta rays are kept amongst many other fish species in the main tank.”

Shark with dinner.

Silhouette of a grey nurse shark in the mouth of a cave. Fish Rock Cave, South West Rocks, NSW.

The stuff of nightmares — A great white shark at Isla Guadalupe, Mexico. Of all the aggressive meat-eating sharks, great whites are the largest.

Dharavandhoo Thila – Hanifaru Bay Sharks. Shark pups are born fierce, but it’s a shark-eat-shark world even before they are born. As some shark species develop teeth as embryos, they eat their unborn brothers and sisters until one dominate shark remains. Even stranger, there is such a thing as virgin shark birth since not all female sharks need a male to conceive. This is called parthenogenesis.

Sand tiger shark teeth. While humans are a shark’s greatest enemy, some killer whales and even other sharks kill sharks. Bull and tiger sharks are the most renowned for preying on and killing other sharks.

Sharks in shallow water. Sharks have an intense sense of smell and some species can detect even the tiniest amount of blood in seawater . . . as little as one part per million of blood in the ocean. They can hone on it and use the scent of blood as a directional beacon in the water.

The photographer noted, “Grey Nurse Shark with fishhook swims above a shoal of Jack Mackerel, The Labyrinth, Seal Rocks, NSW. This shark unwittingly demonstrates why it is endangered off eastern Australia.

Meanwhile in Istanbul Akvarium . . . “The other day around the corner.”

Man stalks whale shark, great white shark stalks man. Although it might scare the crud puppies out of you, it is a mostly a myth that sharks attack surfboards. However “the great white does appear to look at silhouettes from below.” The shape of some surfboards may “fool the sharks into believing they are viewing a pinniped, such as a seal, walrus or sea lion.” You are supposed to take comfort in the fact that “far more surfers drown or die from other causes each year.”

Surfacing Great White Shark. A great white is born a predator along with about 12 other shark pup siblings. In fact, a mother shark may immediately prey and feed on her babies. Many shark pups don’t survive their first year, even though great white sharks are about 5 feet long (1.5 meters) at birth. They can grow up to three times as long as an adult.

Tiger shark showing off its teeth.

“The Secret Underwater Passage,” the photographer wrote. “This was shot under the Mandalay Bay hotel in Las Vegas where they have this lavish aquarium. It’s really gorgeous and dreamy under there, as you can tell. This area has all kinds of sharks and other wild-lookin’ things that were swimming all around me.” This sort of scene would be the perfect setting for fiction where the glass cracks and suddenly the hungry sharks are swimming among the people.

“Into the blue.” The photographer wrote, “Cruising over my head is an Oceanic White Tip shark with his retinue of Pilot fish, off Big Brother, a remote island in the Red Sea. One of several amazing close encounters on this trip.”

Lemon shark with “buddies” hanging on.

Smiling Great White. American superstar and 18-time Olympic Gold Medalist Michael Phelps expressed plans to go diving with the great white sharks off the coast of Africa . . . diving from the safety of a cage. This could be exactly what he sees.

Megamouth sharks have gigantic heads and mouths which seem to always be a bit turned down as if they might be frowning. Megamouths are extremely rare and dwell only in deep water. They grow to a length of about 18 feet.

Tiger shark at Tiger Beach.

Great White shark blueback.

Basking Shark with divers. Though truly bizarre in appearance, looking like some kind of sea monster, basking sharks are slow moving and usually harmless filter feeders.

Upclose and personal with a great white shark in Isla Guadalupe, Mexico

Lemon shark snapping at the surface

Beautiful beast, a whale shark. Despite their huge size and being active feeders, whale sharks are not considered a danger to divers. There was a report, however, of a diver nearly being sucked into a whale shark’s mouth before escaping shaken up but unharmed

Diving the deep blue with an aggressive predator, a sand tiger shark.

Shark Week! Watch out for that shark!