When it comes to sharks, it can be easy to think of the more famous in the family. We’re talking great whites, hammerheads, and the likes. However, Greenland sharks are unlike any other on the planet, largely thanks to the fact they can live for hundreds of years.
How large are Greenland sharks?
When it comes to Greenland sharks, they’re pretty easy to spot in the water, thanks to their immense size. They can grow up to 24 feet long, four feet longer than great white sharks, and weigh up to 2,645 pounds. Greenland sharks also have teeth-like scales that help them move silently through the water, thanks to the reduced drag.
Where can you find Greenland sharks?
If you want to find a Greenland shark, then you’ll have to travel to the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans. They can live all the way from the East Siberian Sea to Portugal and, of course, Greenland. Here, they typically dive pretty deep to 8,684 feet under the surface, where females can give birth to up to 324 pups per pregnancy.
Are these sharks endangered?
For hundreds of years, people hunted Greenland sharks to use as oil in lamps. Although this ended in the 1960s, several Greenland sharks are still accidentally caught in fishing nets. Being unable to fully recover from previous hunting now means that Greenland sharks are considered to be vulnerable to extinction. However, their exact numbers are unknown.
Are Greenland sharks completely blind?
One myth that some have heard about Greenland sharks is how they are completely blind. That might not be entirely true. In fact, they are typically born with working eyesight, but parasites named Ommatokoita elongata attach to one of their eyes and cause them to partially lose their sight. Thankfully, Greenland sharks use their other senses to hunt, so they aren’t hindered.
How long do they live?
Greenland sharks have had little interaction with humans, meaning there is little known about their lives. However, some believe they might live at least 272 years. This is based on analyzing their eye tissue, but that’s not all. It turns out that researchers once estimated a Greenland shark was 392 years old. With a 120-year margin of error, the oldest might be up to 512 years old.
Do Greenland sharks pose a threat to humans?
Perhaps you’re wondering if you’re in danger from Greenland sharks? Thankfully, they spend most of their time eating seals, fish, and other sharks. They will also scavenge passed animals, such as horses, reindeer, and polar bears. Although an 1859 report claims one was found with a human leg, this was never proven, and no attacks on humans have been verified.
When it comes to Greenland sharks, it seems there is still a lot to learn. However, there are a few things we know, such as how they might live for hundreds of years and how Greenland sharks are unlike any other on the planet. At least one thing’s clear: they’re not going to harm us any time soon.