When we think of sharks, we tend to picture the Great White, but with nearly 500 species of shark, they come in all shapes and sizes. Here are our favourite weird sharks...
These weird sharks may look odd, but they are all beautifully formed.
The sawshark’s distinctive long, blade-like snout is a lethal weapon to its prey. The teeth up the side of the snout act like a serrated blade to help it to kill and shred the fish, shrimp, crustaceans and squid which make up its diet.
2. Megamouth shark
It may sound and look like something from a kids’ cartoon, but the megamouth shark certainly isn’t one for the limelight, and has been very rarely seen since first being spotted in 1976 off Hawaii. It certainly deserves its place in our weird sharks list though, with its huge mouth, complete with rubbery-looking lips.
3. Wobbegong shark
We’re not sure what your shagpile looks like, but hopefully it doesn’t too much resemble the wobbegong shark, whose nickname is ‘carpet shark’ because of its habit of lying still on the ocean floor waiting for its dinner to arrive. Cleverly luring in unsuspecting fish, lobster, octopus and crab, once its prey is in its clutches, it’s game over as the wobbegong can use its huge mouth to swallow prey almost its own size.
4. Frilled shark
Not much is known about this deep-sea-dwelling creature, but it is thought to be one of the oldest of all sharks, dating back a hundred million years, and earning it its nickname ‘living fossil’. Its primitive looks and long, thin body give it the appearance of a sinister eel. Definitely not one you’d like to come across while out for a swim!
5. Greenland shark
Another of our weird sharks to be found in the deepest, darkest depths of the ocean, the Greenland shark can withstand low temperatures and depths of more than a mile. The secret of its success at surviving where most sharks could not? It is super-slow and can slow down its life processes the colder it gets. In effect, while always on the move, with speeds of around 1mph it is virtually hibernating!
6. Hammerhead shark
A more familiar species perhaps, but the hammerhead is nonetheless a pretty weird looking animal! But at the same time, its distinctive shaped head – known as a cephalofoil – delivers one of nature’s greatest tricks, enabling the shark 360-degree vision. As if that weren’t bad news enough for their prey, hammerheads also have the ability to detect electrical currents in the ocean, meaning they can hone in on even a simple heartbeat.
7. Thresher shark
This shark looks pretty normal until you notice its outsized tail which make up half its total length. And of course, it wouldn’t have been blessed with such a magnificent tail without good reason. The shark can weave its way through schools of fish, snapping its tail as it goes. It can then turn around and casually catch the fish which it has just stunned.
8. Goblin shark
This rare species may be no thing of beauty but its pointed snout and protruding jaw give it an advantage when it comes to catching prey. Its top and bottom teeth are attached to ligaments which allow the teeth to extend out of the mouth, for extra reach. Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water!