Do Sharks Deserve the Scary Reputation?
by Maximiliano Moreno Lopez, age 9
Sharks are well known creatures that live in the oceans. They can appear unexpectedly and cause fear in many. Great white sharks are only one example of ocean animals that can grow up to 15-20 feet long. They also have swimming speeds of 35 miles per hour, which can increase if they feel they are in danger.
Great white sharks can live roughly up to 30 years. When sharks are first born, they grow teeth that can kill other ocean animals. Larger sharks often kill baby whales or young dolphins. Sharks are born being able to take care of themselves. They can find their own food and safe places to live.
Interestingly, sharks mainly eat fish and invertebrates. So, contrary to popular belief, sharks don’t eat humans nearly as often as we see in movies.
The oceans near California and Florida are good examples of shark habitats. Most shark species have a biological system called the lateral line that detects movement in the water. Some sharks camouflage if they feel they are in danger, and others will eat any sea animals that come in their path. If there is a tsunami, some sharks won't even notice it and they can instantly be killed by them.
Sharks are fascinating species and known throughout the world. They may seem dangerous like in the media, but most likely they will not approach people. Many sharks have a natural fear of humans. From a young age they develop senses to help them survive in the great oceans. By educating yourself about different sharks, you can know which ones are dangerous and which ones are not.
[Sources: Outside and Inside Sharks; Sea World; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration]