Despite what you may have seen in movies such as Jaws, sharks are not the mindless killing machines that their on-screen portrayals suggest.
In fact, there are several common misconceptions about sharks, making them on of the most misunderstood creatures on the planet.
in our latest video, we explain some the truth behind some of the most common shark myths to help you get to know these amazing animals a little better….
Myth 1: If a shark stops swimming, it will die
This is true for some species of sharks, as they need to keep moving in order to get enough water across their gills to breath. However other species can use muscles in their mouth to draw water over their gills, allowing them to breath whilst remaining still.
Myth 2: If you turn a shark upside down it will go into a trance
This phenomenon is called ‘tonic immobility’ but again it only works with some species. However, if you do manage to flip a bull or great white shark over, it will suddenly become paralysed. It is thought this trick evolved as part of mating, to protect females from aggressive males.
Myth 3: Sharks don’t get cancer
Sharks definitely do get cancer, but there’s some evidence that a compound called angiogenin, an inhibitor in shark cartilage, reduces the ability of tumours to grow, making them much less susceptible to the disease.
Myth 4: Sharks are man-eaters
Contrary to what you may have seen in Jaws, sharks don’t actually seek out humans for food. Most shark attacks occur when the animal mistakes a human for its prey, as a person on a surfboard can look a lot like a sea turtle or seal to a shark swimming below.
Myth 5: Sharks attacks are common
The number of human fatalities caused by sharks averages out at less than five per year. In fact, the number of sharks killed by humans each year is much higher, as for every human eaten by a shark, 20 million sharks are eaten by humans.
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