Even if you’ve never seen one in person, you might be afraid of sharks. Thanks to movies and TV, sharks often get a bad wrap. Maybe it’s their endless supply of teeth, or those tiny, unblinking eyes? Either way, some folks just get the heebie-jeebies thinking about sharks… and rightly so – they are fearsome predators if you happen to live in a pineapple-under-the-sea.
But, in reality, the odds of being eaten by a shark are incredibly low.
Like, less than 1 in 264 million low.
Like, you’re more likely to die from a falling coconut, standing at the water’s edge, looking for sharks in the water below…low.
Thanks to conservation groups this once misunderstood animal is finally getting the mainstream fan-base it deserves. So, in honor of Shark Awareness Day here are three cool facts about sharks (and their teeth) you might not know!
1 – Sharks can have up to 15 rows of teeth at any one given time!
Due to the high rate of tooth-loss in sharks, a renewable tooth-replacement system ensures they can eat. With backup teeth months in advance, it’s no wonder sharks can have up to 3,000 teeth at one time! The average life-span of a shark-tooth is anywhere between 1 day and 1 week. Because sharks don’t have roots to keep them in place the way humans do, they lose them frequently. (Just think if you had to get braces every week for 3,000 teeth!)
2 – Sharks don’t have any bones!
Of course, we’ve seen shark teeth at a museum or a beach shop- but ultimately that’s all that remains of sharks when they pass. That’s because the rest of them including their skeletal structure is all cartilage. The cartilage breaks down in the salty ocean waters and their thousands of teeth are left on the ocean floor to wash ashore.
3 – Sharks are born with teeth!
The life of a baby shark is a stark comparison to that of humans. A pregnant shark will search for a safe place to either lay her eggs or give birth, but that is the end of her parental care. So, in order to feed and survive without parental care, baby sharks are born with a full set of teeth. Can you imagine teaching a newborn to brush their teeth or floss?
Sharks are so popular these days, some cable channels dedicate a whole month of television programming to shark education and entertainment. Poor dolphins, someday Hollywood will call again!