Sharks of Key West

For anyone who loves taking tours on a glass bottom boat Key West is the ideal place to do it. There are almost endless things to see, from coral reefs to sponges to exotic fish and other marine animals. Thrill seekers will be happy to know that even sharks are on the list of potential sights. In fact, lucky visitors may even get the chance to see more than one type of shark on their trip.

Shark Appearance

There are many types of sharks, ranging from the largest fish in the world to a tiny 6-inch specie, all of which have their own unique appearance. However, there are some attributes that many sharks have in common. Sharks all have multiple gills on the side of their head which they use to breath. Another major attribute that all shark have in common is that rather than a more traditional bone structure, their skeleton is entirely made up of cartilage. This has many advantages, including their skeleton's light weight in comparison to bone, as well as its flexibility.

Their skin is made up of placoid scales, which are actually tiny tooth-like structures that give them their sandpapery feel and help them slide through the water more efficiently. It also makes their skin very strong and thick, protecting them from predators. They are often colored to blend in with their surroundings, so sharks who live near the bottom of the ocean may be more sand colored, while sharks who spend their time closer to the surface are often a grayish color, with a lighter underbelly. They also generally have eight fins, though due to their shape they can only swim forwards and not backwards.

Their teeth are another common shark characteristic, in that sharks have several rows of teeth that they continually shed and replace throughout their lives. Another fascinating ability sharks have is that they can sense an animal's magnetic field, and can therefore even find prey that is hidden under sand. These traits, combined, help make sharks fearsome hunters and have contributed to their enormous evolutionary success.

Shark Eating Habits

Again, the many different species of sharks make it hard to generalize, as they each have their own eating habits and prey. However, it is fair to say that most sharks are carnivorous. While some focus on eating larger prey such as fish, squid, or even dolphins, other species of shark eat smaller prey like plankton. Some aggressively hunt their food, while other sharks lure their prey to them by way of ambush, suction feeding, or luminescence in their mouths. There have been instances of sharks attacking humans, but those are small in number as we are not their preferred prey.

Shark Habitats

While most sharks live in marine waters, there are a small number of freshwater sharks as well. There are sharks who live deep in the ocean, with sightings at up to 12,000 feet, and others who stay closer to shore and prefer shallow waters. They are found all over the world in all the oceans. For example, sharks such as the Pacific Sleeper Shark may be found in higher latitudes, while the Thresher Shark prefers more tropical climates.

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