SCIENCE

How well do you know your sharks?

Sharks have prowled the Earth's seas for millions of years. The ocean predators' giant size, powerful physiques and dangerous bite captivate us and fill us with fear. How well do you know your sharks?

Shark vs. Fish

Shark Week, cable television's longest-running programming event, returns for the 26th time to Discovery Channel Sunday, August 4th. Before the fabulous summertime ritual begins, pause to consider: How much do you really know about sharks?

Neil Wilkinson

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Question 1:

How many species of sharks are there in the world?

(Discovery Channel)

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Answer 1:

There are about 520 species of sharks--and those are just the ones we know about!

(Discovery Channel)

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Question 2:

How often do sharks need to eat?

(Discovery Channel)

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Answer 2:

Sharks can go over a month without eating.

(Discovery Channel)

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Fun Fact 1:

Sharks don't actually chew their food--they swallow it whole! If their prey is too big, they rip it into chunks and swallow those whole.

(Discovery Channel)

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Question 3:

Do sharks lose their teeth? If so, how long does it take?

(Discovery Channel)

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Answer 3:

A Great White shark can lose 1,000 teeth in one year. In comparison, most humans lose their 20 baby teeth in the span of seven years.

(Discovery Channel)

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Question 4:

How fast can sharks swim?

(Discovery Channel)

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Answer 4:

It depends on the shark. The salmon shark can swim 55 miles per hour!

(Discovery Channel)

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Fun Fact 2:

Most sharks can see just as well behind them as they can in front of them.

(Discovery Channel)

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Question 5:

How large are most sharks?

(Discovery Channel)

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Answer 5:

Though people tend to associate sharks with the large Great White species, most sharks are actually under 3 feet long.

(Discovery Channel)

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Question 6:

True or False: Of all the animals, sharks are responsible for the most human deaths each year.

(Discovery Channel)

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Answer 6:

False. In fact, more people are killed each year by pigs than by sharks.

(Discovery Channel)

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Fun Fact 3:

Well, this isn't exactly fun. Sandtiger sharks practice intrauterine cannibalism. This means that as the sandtiger pups grow in their mothers' wombs and their embryonic teeth develop, they begin to eat each other. In the end, only two pups are actually born--one from each of the mother's two uteruses.

(Discovery Channel)

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Question 7:

Do sharks' bodies change temperatures?

(Discovery Channel)

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Answer 7:

Though Great White sharks are cold-blooded, they can raise their body temperature in the muscles by 13 - 25 degrees F. This gives them bursts of speed and helps them catch their prey in frigid cold waters.

(Discovery Channel)

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Question 8:

What is the shark-human kill ratio?

(Discovery Channel)

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Answer 8:

Since Discovery Channel's Shark Week 2010 last year, 11 people have been killed by sharks and 70 million sharks have been killed by people.

(Discovery Channel)

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Fun Fact 4:

It is illegal to own, trade, or sell shark fins in Washington and Hawaii. California and Oregon are considering similar legislation.

(Discovery Channel)

How well do you know your sharks?

Sharks have prowled the Earth's seas for millions of years. The ocean predators' giant size, powerful physiques and dangerous bite captivate us and fill us with fear. How well do you know your sharks?

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