It’s that time of the year again. The entire population of the United States seemingly tires of the hot and humid summer, and heads indoors to get their annual fix of all things shark. In honor of this special week, we wanted to share a little shark knowledge. No doubt, you’ll learn some of this information by tuning into the Discovery Channel’s yearly Shark Week, but here is a quick rundown of some of the coolest bits of shark related trivia.
Shark Week Facts
1. Some female sharks can reproduce without mating. The term for this is parthenogenesis, which derives from the Ancient Greek, meaning “virgin birth.” Parthenogenesis commonly occurs in insects, and more rarely in fish and reptiles.
2. Greenland Sharks are some of the slowest moving sharks on the planet, moving at about .76 mph. They are also some of the longest living. Scientists believe they may live to be over 200 years old. No doubt, you can imagine other sharks swimming by and yelling, “Move over grandpa!”
3. Tail whip hunting-thresher sharks use their unique long tails to stun and catch prey. By accelerating quickly towards a group of fish, and then stopping suddenly, they can position themselves to unleash a bullwhip with their tail. This stuns and kills nearby fish.
4. The first tiger shark to hatch inside of its mother’s womb eats all the other embryos of its siblings. Even scientists admit that this is an unusual mode of survival.
5. While we tend to think of sharks as deadly, for every human that is killed by a shark (about 30 people per year), at least 2 million sharks are killed by human beings.
6. Sharks are in trouble – It is believed that between 20-30% of sharks species are endangered. Sharks are thought to be especially vulnerable because they can take decades to mature and they produce few young.
7. The short finned mako is the fastest shark species and can travel from 20-30 mph. Forget great whites, we want to see Michael Phelps race a mako.
If you can’t get enough Shark Week, we’ve got you covered with a few of our favorite shark-related Sporcle quizzes. Test your knowledge to see how much about sharks you really know.
- We give you the pictures, and you name the sharks in Shark Week.
- Test how well you know the parts of a shark in Shark Anatomy.
- Play Shark Attack! to find out which countries have the most shark attacks.
- If word games are more your style, try playing 11 Ways Not to Shout ‘Shark!’
- If you’re a fan of TV, give TV Shows that Jumped the Shark a shot.
Matthew Groner is a Staff Writer for Sporcle. He enjoys foraging for gourmet mushrooms and calculating the odds of the Kansas City Chiefs winning a Super Bowl in his lifetime.