Sep 22, 2010

Shark! Oh, wait...



It seems like there was a lot of news about shark attacks - or at least the fear of them - this past summer. But most sharks have more to fear from us than we have to fear from them, and this couldn't be more true of the basking shark, which lately got a federal designation of "Species of Concern." (That means that we don't know whether they're endangered but they might be.)

These animals are huge - 30 feet or more long - but unless one sits on you, it's unlikely to do you much damage. They're filter feeders, which is nice work if you can get it. They don't have to chase anything down and fight it to the death - they just open that huge mouth and basically sift plankton out of the water.

They do have teeth, but not so's it matters. As biologist Heidi Dewar at NOAA told National Public Radio, "If you took a grain of rice and cut it in half, that's what the teeth of a basking shark look like."

Biologist Dewar is obviously a person after our own hearts here at Ugly Overload. She also said of the basking shark, "They're just really cool and amazing-looking and beautiful."

Toothlessly,
Wombat (No Relation)


Thanks for the heads-up to the always interesting Cryptozoology Online.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Other than humans, what preys on them?

Just curious.

Rusty Marcum said...

Killer whales and tiger sharks like to chomp on them if given the chance.

one tree hill dvd said...

Yeah,It's curious.

Jan said...

It's mouth is enormous! Almost looks as if it needs dentures...

forestwalk/laura k said...

that mouth is huge!

in that picture...it almost looks like a grill from the front of a car...

Myles Hassell said...

I've heard of divers getting sucked into a whale shark's mouth...and then getting forcibly spat back out. :D