Sharks have been a hot topic this summer – they were spotted all along the coastlines of the United States, especially alongside the east coast. Because of the recent news about sharks, we thought it’d be interesting to compile a list of shark facts – and discuss the species of sharks you might see here in Hawaii. We may be a few weeks late for Shark Week but it should be fun to see if you have learned anything new about humanity’s favorite carnivore.
10 Awesome Shark Facts!
- There are about 40 different species of sharks around the Hawaiian islands – most absolutely harmless to humans! One species of shark is only 8 inches long while another species can grow to be over 50 feet! The four most common sharks seen in Hawaii are the sandbar shark, the white-tip reef shark, the scalloped hammerhead, and the tiger shark (which isn’t as common as the other three).
- Sharks respond to a sound in the water that let’s them know an injured fish is nearby. This is an infrasonic sound that injured fish make, drawing sharks to an easy meal.
- Most shark species can be found in open water, allowing them plenty of space to swim and an abundance of fish to eat, although some are still found closer to shore looking for other types of prey.
- Sharks can generate up to 40,000 pounds per square inch of pressure in a single bite. That’s enough to chomp off a limb of an animal.
- Pygmy sharks are among the tiniest sharks in the world. They measure an average of 8 inches (20 centimeters) in length and can make their own light.
- Sharks can actually tan, although it’s not for beauty alone! Some hammerheads tan near the ocean’s surface. The darkening of their skin helps them establish better camouflage which allows them to catch more prey.
- There is actually a way to track tiger sharks in Hawaii here. The tracking has helped scientists realize that tiger sharks occupy a large range of territory in the Hawaiian islands, instead of just sticking to a particular place or area.
- It was only just recently discovered that sharks can live inside active, underwater volcanoes which is one of the coolest things ever. Recently, ocean engineer Brennan Phillips led a team of researchers to the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific to investigate the hydrothermal activity – exploring a volcano that was buried in the ocean in layman’s terms. What he discovered there was astounding – sharks, stingrays, and other large creatures were all living inside an active underwater volcano.
- Sharks are an important part of Hawaiian culture. Sharks have provided the people of Hawaii with tools for a long time. Shark teeth were used as knives while shark skins were used for hula drums. Sharks, however, weren’t just used for practical purposes. They also played a large role in Hawaiian spirituality. Some sharks were considered equal to Hawaiian royalty (ali’i). If a family member died, it was sometimes believed they could be reincarnated into a shark and this shark would become their guardian spirit and protector. Also, at least nine Hawaiian gods are associated with sharks: Kamohoali’i, Kua, Kuhaimoana, Kawelomahamahai’a, Kane’apua, Kaholia-Kane, Ka’ahupahau, Keali’ikau o Ka’u and Kaehuikimano o Pu’uloa.
- Electroreception allows sharks to notice changes in saltwater electricity conduction. Blood changes conductivity and sharks can smell it in the water. This is why people say that you’ll attract sharks if you’re bleeding in the water. Because they can smell that something is injured. Even though they don’t aim for human prey, they sometimes make a mistake. Still, shark attacks are very rare, just stay alert and be careful.
- Omnivores or Carnivores? All shark species only eat meat which makes them carnivores. However, sometimes it seems as if some species of shark eat more than meat. That’s because certain species of shark, including the tiger shark, often eat anything in its path including trash. They derive no healthy benefit from this, only from eating meat.
If you want to test your knowledge about sharks the state of Hawaii has a quiz available for you to take. So go on, see if you know your stuff after reading this post. Perhaps you’ll learn something else.
You’ll learn plenty on the Ihu Nui fishing charters when you come out to fish with us. We can tell you about sharks and the fish they eat while you catch your own meal. Call us at (808) 960-1424 to book your fishing trip!