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Fish With Pointy Teeth

Carter Shubert, Staff Writer

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Sharks are one of the most feared animals in the world, but are they really that scary?  Some people are scared of going to the beach because of shark attacks which really are not that common.  Many sharks are not harmful and are just trying to be your friend.  There are over 465 species of sharks in the world and are at the top of the marine food chain.  Sharks are very vicious predators, but their numbers have actually been decreasing in recent years.  In my opinion, sharks are the coolest animal in the world, scary or not.  

Sharks have skeletons made of cartilage which makes them some of the fastest animals in the ocean because it is much lighter than bone.  If you are wondering why sharks always have rows of huge pointy teeth, this is because new rows grow in as they lose them.  The skin of sharks has two tones that are used for camouflage.  The top of sharks have a darker shade to blend in with the water above and the belly of sharks have a lighter or white shade to blend in with the surface when looking from below.  

The common belief is that sharks are huge vicious animals, which is true in some cases, but there are some pretty small, friendly sharks.  The smallest shark is the spined pygmy shark and is about seven inches long, while the biggest is the whale shark that measures up to fifty feet in length.  Another interesting fact is that sharks tend to live relatively short lives at about twenty to thirty years on average.  Amazingly, the gargantuan whale shark can live to be over one-hundred years old!

One comforting fact is that sharks really do not want to bother you so if you don’t mess with them, then it is likely that they will not mess with you.  Sharks usually enjoy a nice gourmet meal of fish, crustaceans, and sometimes other small sharks.  Not all sharks are like Bruce from Finding Nemo so here are some tips on how to defend yourself if you find yourself staring in the eyes of a shark.  

  1. Stay in a group.  Sharks are intimidated by large groups of people in the ocean and will avoid you if there are a bunch of people.  
  2. Don’t swim at night.  Sharks tend to hunt at night so there are often more sharks out when the sun goes down.  Stay out of the ocean when it is dark outside.  
  3. Don’t play dead.  This will make the shark think that it has beaten you and will start chomping on your body.  
  4. If you are bleeding, get out of the water as soon as possible.  Sharks are attracted to the smell of blood and can sense it from miles away so get out of the water quickly.
  5. If a shark is attacking you, hit it in the nose and it will likely turn away and end the attack.  
  6. Try to hit the eyes of the shark.  This is the main weakness of the intimidating animal so if you are able to get a clean strike on the eyes, you might have a chance. 
  7. Try swimming in a zigzag pattern  Sharks have trouble catching on to this because they want a more direct attack.  
  8. Remember all the movies where everyone screams “Shark!”  This actually will help you and those around to let them know that they need to get out of the dangerous waters.  
  9. Find your inner Michael Phelps and swim as if your life depends on it.  Swim like there is a shark right chasing you… Wait but there is a shark behind you so swim even faster!
  10. Do not wear bright colors or shiny jewelry and watches.  Sharks have very keen sight and will think something is up is they see someone wearing a bling or a nice Rolex.  
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The student news site of Academic Magnet High School in North Charleston, South Carolina.
Fish With Pointy Teeth