Sharks For Kids
Check out our cool shark facts and download or print our quiz sheet in the activity section at the end for use in class or at home.
What do you think of sharks? Are you scared of them, or do you think that they are a special creature? Loads of people have built up a fear of sharks because of movies like Jaws and what the news tells us. But actually they really like us humans, they only attack if they get scared, and when we’re flapping and jumping around in the water they sometimes think we’re a seal!
They are actually awesome creatures and here we’ve got some of the most awesome facts about sharks! Enjoy!
Types of Sharks
- In the past 470 million years sharks have evolved and unbelievably there are about 440 different species! Wow, that’s quite a lot. They can be really small or really large. The Dwarf Lantern Shark is a baby at 6.7 inches (17 centimeters) long. How cute is that. And then you get the giant of sharks, the Whale Shark, which is the biggest shark in the world. They can grow to about about 65 feet (20 meters), but a lot of them grow to about 39 feet (12 meters) long.
- Did you know that not all sharks live in the sea? Well some of them live in rivers, like the Bull Shark, the Spear Tooth Shark and the River Shark. Amazingly they can survive in river and sea water. This is cool; the Bull Shark actually changes things in its blood to survive in both. That’s amazing, wonder how he does that?
- Now apparently shark skin can be used as sandpaper. MythBusters tested it and apparently it works really well. It is soaked in wee overnight; now that’s really gross! Then they dry it out before using it! A shark’s skin is made of tiny scales which point towards the tail. What this means is that there is no resistance while they’re swimming in the water so it doesn’t slow them down. But if you rub the skin from tail to head, it feels really rough, just like sandpaper. Now that’s really weird.
- Did you know that a shark never ever runs out of teeth? They have between 5 to 15 rows of teeth arranged in layers. Imagine having rows of teeth in your mouth? It would certainly feel quite strange don’t you think. One Bull Shark was found with 50 rows of teeth! He must have one seriously big mouth.
- If a tooth breaks off, another one grows in its place within a day. This is incredible. They can grow and lose over 20,000 teeth in their lives. When a shark dies their teeth don’t rot. They do eventually, but it takes about 10,000 years for this to happen. Wow. When a baby shark is born it already has teeth and can swim away and defend itself immediately. That’s quite amazing in the animal world!
Items Found Inside Sharks
- This will make you laugh! There have certainly been some weird and wonderful things found inside sharks! They have found tyres, bike parts, tin cans, a polar bear, a 16th-century Portuguese medallion, license plates, boots, fur coats, and the bones of an adult, a 7 foot (2 metre) long dolphin, and bottles of wine. They found the remains of a knight still wearing his armour; it was apparently found inside a Great White Shark in the 16th Century though some people really don’t know if this is true.
- They’ve also found a cannon ball, porcupines, cans of paint, livestock and crocodile heads, a reindeer with their antlers, rubber boots, pet dogs with their collars, a camera while it was still running, a horse head, a bag of money, Barbie dolls, and crazily enough another shark had a chicken coop with chickens still inside. It seems sharks have a taste for almost everything!
What happens if you meet a shark in the water?
- Sharks might look very scary and for centuries people have thought that they are just man-eaters, but they are actually gentle and quite like being touched by humans. In Cape Town, South Africa, the Foster brothers used a film to prove this point. Damon Foster says surfers should paint a big eye on their board and make sure the board isn’t shiny or glittery.
- If a shark comes, the surfer should get off the board into the water, make him or herself as ‘big’ as possible and eyeball the shark. That way the shark knows the surfer isn’t afraid and will back off. If the surfer tries to high tail it out of there, the shark then thinks that they are prey and will go on the hunt. Well now you know what to do…get painting that big eye on your surfboard.
- Mike Rutzen – South Africa’s ‘shark whisperer’ – cuddles sharks, puts them into a trance by tickling their sensory spots which are usually found under their snout, and takes rides on their backs by holding their dorsal fins. Who would have thought that they could be so gentle? How awesome is that?
Those are our cool and interesting shark facts! See, they aren’t so bad after all!
Activity Time – Shark Quiz
Click to download or print our shark facts quiz sheet to use in class or at home! Questions about Sharks (all answers can be found on this page).