ZB_Sharks 08_09It’s summertime, and for many families, that means it’s time to hit the beach. If you’re going to be near the ocean, sharks might be on your mind as a potential hazard. While many movies depict sharks as vicious killers, there’s a lot more to these elegant animals than this bloodthirsty stereotype. In fact, more people are killed by bees than by sharks. Often when we think of sharks, we picture a great white—a huge shark with large teeth. However, most sharks are less than three feet long, and some sharks are only four inches long when fully grown. And even though whale sharks are 45 feet long and weigh over 40,000 pounds, they are gentle giants that eat mostly plankton and are not dangerous to humans.
While most sharks are not dangerous to humans, humans are often dangerous to sharks. Over the course of history, humans have used rough shark skin as sandpaper, used their sharp teeth as arrowheads, and hunted them for their meat. Today, people hunting sharks and destroying their habitats have led to many shark species becoming endangered. Learning more about sharks and undoing negative stereotypes is important in protecting these amazing animals.