Hey Sharks!

Today is July 14th, and it’s a very special holiday. One of my favorite days out of the year.
It’s Shark Awareness Day!

The purpose of this post is to bring awareness to 3 common misconceptions about sharks that some people may think are true or just are misinformed about.

#1 Sharks Are Violent and Sadistic Beings.

One of the most common misconceptions that I hear personally from people is that sharks are violent, sadistic, bloodthirsty, etc. This isn’t true.

Looking from a different perspective of someone who isn’t as informed about sharks, I can understand why someone would assume this. Take a look at the movie “Jaws” or any other Hollywood movie about sharks. They are made out to be monstrous and deadly.

Let’s face it. Sharks are wild apex predators, and like any wild animal, they can be dangerous. In reality, however, you are more likely to die from getting hit from a falling coconut, than from a shark.

That’s right. A falling FRUIT. Sharks kill about 5 people per year, whereas humans kill about 100 million sharks per year. Sharks do not purposely try to find you to attack you either, they are confused or curious. They just tend to be a bit destructive when investigating, but it’s not necessarily intended.

#2 Sharks Are Better Dead Than Alive

Recently I came across a Reddit post about a man who lives in Florida, with the main purpose of killing sharks. It could be false, but I’d believe it was true.
People may fear what they don’t understand, and sharks tend to be one of those things.
Sharks are really important in our oceans. When you pull out a vital link in the food chain, the rest goes a bit unstable. Sharks help balance and maintain our ocean, and by killing and overfishing them, we are harming the ocean’s ecosystem.

“According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the list of endangered shark species is surprisingly long; among approximately 470 species of sharks, 2.4% are listed as ‘Critically Endangered’, 3.2% ‘Endangered’, 10.3% ‘Vulnerable’, and 14.4% ‘Near Threatened’”

#3 Sharks Are Only Big, Not Small.

The third and last misconception I hear or see a lot is that all sharks are big. Did you know that there are about 440 known species of sharks, and they can range from all different types of sizes!

The smallest species is the dwarf lantern shark, which is smaller than your hand, whereas the biggest species that is currently alive, is the whale shark, reaching about 18-33 feet long. For extinct sharks, however, the Megalodon rules out at over 34-59 feet long. That’s a HUGE shark.

Whatever their size, all sharks should be protected and appreciated. There are a few more common misconceptions out there about sharks, but these are the ones I see or get asked most frequently, as the people I’m around know that I love sharks, and therefore ask me questions about them.

If you have any questions you’d like me to answer, I would love to. I’m currently an undergraduate biology student, and I am always learning about sharks and their relatives, so I will answer your question to the best of my knowledge.

Until next time, sharks!
-Madi