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Sharks by Susanna Batchelor
a Veterinarian with a Special Interest in Sharks

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About Sharks

Interesting Facts about Hammerhead Sharks

Interesting Facts about Whale Sharks

Visit Our Directory of More Shark Materials by Susanna

Group of Hammerhead Sharks



About Sharks by Susanna Batchelor

Swimming with Whale Sharks  

My name is Susanna Batchelor and I am a veterinarian from England who dives with sharks.

I have dived with many different types of sharks all over the world; reef sharks in the Red Sea in Egypt, whale sharks in the Indian Ocean in Seychelles, and hammerhead sharks in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Costa Rica, to name a few.

There are about 400 different types of sharks in the world. Many of them are named after the way they look or where they live. For example, the hammerhead shark has a head shaped like a hammer; the whale shark is as big as a whale; and the reef shark lives on coral reefs. Many of them have very strange shapes which are suited to the way they live. Some look more like sting rays - which they are very closely related to. Sharks range from a few centimeters to many meters in length. And they eat all sorts of different food - ranging from plankton to fish to larger mammals like seals.

  Photo of Whale Shark with Small Fish

Sharks perform a very important job in the ocean by eating weak and sick animals, thereby keeping the population of animals in the sea fit and healthy. Sharks are hunted by people - both for their fins and some for their meat. Some cultures believe that sharks have medicinal qualities, although there is no evidence for this. Many people are campaigning to try to stop people from catching sharks for food or for medicine because they kill too many sharks, and shark numbers are declining. People are also campaigning for safe zones in the oceans where sharks can go and not be in danger of being caught by fishermen.

Sharks are often thought of as being aggressive animals that attack divers. In actual fact, sharks are very timid and often go out of their way to avoid divers, even great white sharks. When sharks do bite humans it is usually a case of mistaken identity, as a person’s shadow or silhouette may look like the shark’s normal food source - for example a seal. If someone is diving or snorkelling and a shark approaches too closely, it is possible to push on the shark’s nose which is very sensitive and often the shark will allow itself to be pushed away. When I dive near sharks, I make sure to dive with someone who knows the local area and is familiar with the sharks I am diving with. For me and the people I dive with, diving with sharks is a very rewarding experience as they are very beautiful and graceful animals.


10 Interesting Facts about Hammerhead Sharks:

Photo of Cocos Island Hammerhead Shark  

1) A hammerhead shark has a head shaped like a hammer to help it detect electrical impulses given off by its prey. Hammerhead sharks swing their heads from side to side like a metal detector.

2) The hammerhead shark’s eyes and nostrils are at each end of the "hammer".

3) The positioning of its eyes allows 360° vision.

4) Hammerhead sharks gather in large shoals during the day, then hunt alone at night.

5) Hammerhead sharks feed mainly on fish and squid.

6) Hammerhead sharks grow up to 4 meters long, but get scared by the sound of divers’ bubbles!

7) Hammerhead sharks give birth to live young, rather than laying eggs.

8) There are 9 different types of hammerhead sharks, varying in size but all with the characteristic hammer.

9) Hammerhead sharks like cooler water, so they are often found in deeper water. They sometimes come up to shallower water where divers are early in the morning before the sun gets too strong.

10) Hammerhead sharks have been known to eat other sharks.

See PHOTOS of hammerhead sharks
See VIDEOS of hammerhead sharks


10 Interesting Facts about Whale Sharks:

  Whale Shark Photo

1) Whale sharks can grow to 18 meters long. They are the largest fish in the world.

2) You could fit 2 humans head to toe in a whale shark’s mouth.

3) Whale sharks feed on plankton by filtering plankton through massive gills.

4) Whale sharks have up to 3,000 tiny teeth but they don’t use them for chewing.

5) Whale sharks have teeth-like structures on their skin which is why their skin is so rough.

6) Whale sharks are very curious and will often slow down to inspect divers and even follow their bubbles.

7) Whale sharks make huge migrations across the oceans following food.

8) Whale sharks can be spotted from low flying aircraft due to their massive size and dark black/grey colour.

9) Whale sharks can live a long time, and do not breed until they are in their twenties.

10) The pattern of spots on a whale shark’s side (just behind the gills) is like a fingerprint that is unique to each individual and can be used for identification.

See PHOTOS of Whale Sharks
See VIDEOS of Whale Sharks



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