The Great Shark Quiz


By: Lauren Lubas

6 Min Quiz

Image: by wildestanimal/Moment/Getty Images

About This Quiz

Everyone has a favorite shark. As a matter of fact, there are so many different species of shark that it's impossible not to pick the one you find most interesting. Consider the fact that there are around 500 species of these crazy creatures (and not all of them have sharp teeth!). While we may all be able to identify the great white or the hammerhead, the multitude of shark species gives us pause to consider what we really know about sharks. Sure, you probably watch Shark Week religiously every year to find out new things and learn about different shark attacks, but would you be able to tell the difference between a tiger shark and a thresher shark? If you can, you might be a shark genius, but there really is only one way to figure out your shark IQ ... and that's by taking this quiz.

We're going to ask you some of the tougher questions about what makes a shark a shark, how to spot one if you're swimming in the shallows and where you can find some of the more well-known (and not-so-well-known) species. Do you have what it takes to swim with the sharks? Take this impossible shark quiz to find out.

How many bones do sharks have?

That's right, sharks don't have bones. As a matter of fact, this is what separates their species from other fish. However, sharks do have skeletons that are made out of cartilage (the stuff our ears are made out of).


When do sharks learn how to attack?

Believe it or not, sharks start attacking before they leave their eggs. While this has been studied in different species of shark, the most common occurrence was found in sand sharks. The mother shark can carry a dozen embryos, but only the largest is born (because he eats the rest of them).


Do you know the range of vision that a hammerhead shark has?

With their eyes set perfectly on their sides, hammerheads vision from each eye actually overlaps. Imagine walking around with your eyes crossed and trying to figure out which eye you should focus on. Hammerheads may be a little more advanced than us in this regard.


A whale shark is the longest fish in the world. About how long can it get?

The whale shark is known as the largest fish (Remember that whales themselves are mammals). They may be able to swallow a man whole, but they're actually filter feeders who rely mostly on plankton to live.


For most species of shark, are the males or the females larger?

Scientists assume that the size of the female is significantly larger, because she's the one who has to carry around shark babies. However, it could just be because large females are highly respected within shark society.


In what unlikely place might you find a bull shark swimming around?

Don't go thinking you're safe if you swim in fresh water. There are species of shark that can be found in lakes and fresh water. The bull shark, for example, can swim in both fresh and salt water.


Can you name the shark that has a two-year gestation period?

The spiny dogfish shark holds the record for gestation period in vertebrates: It holds its baby for two years. That's at least two summers, and if you know what it's like being pregnant in the summer, you probably pity this poor fish.


About how much force can the jaws of a great white shark produce?

The jaws of a great white shark are actually stronger than most large cats (which is saying a lot). By comparison, a human's jaws usually produces around 200 PSI ... No wonder we can't break bones with our teeth.


On average, how many shark attacks happen in the United States each year?

Contrary to popular belief and what Hollywood films might make you think, we really only average about 19 shark bites each year, and very few of those are deadly.


In the United States, how many shark attacks end up deadly?

With the small amount of shark attacks that do happen, very few of them end up deadly. This is because, for the most part, sharks accidentally bite humans thinking that they're a different animal. Therefore, one bite is all you get. Sharks don't like eating people, so they usually swim away after the first bite; however, if that first bite hits an artery, the human is in a lot of trouble.


Sharks attack more men than women. What percentage of shark attacks are on male swimmers, surfers and fishers?

This is an astounding statistic, and it goes back through every shark attack on record since 1580. Many think that this is the case because there are more males than females in the waters where sharks dwell.


What's the most amount of teeth a shark can grow in a lifetime?

We all know that sharks have rows and rows of teeth (These are called "series"). There are sharks that have fifteen series of teeth. This makes sharks even more frightening, as you can't just knock their teeth out to protect yourself.


What's the oldest species of shark that is still living today?

Goblin sharks are often considered the ugliest creatures in all the world. They live at the bottom of the ocean with the all the other terrifying creatures (including the angler fish). Scientists estimate that this species of shark is around 125 million years old.


How thick is a whale shark's skin?

The whale shark's skin is so thick that scientists have had issues attempting to take blood samples from the creature. If their skin protects them from needles, it also protects them against other predators.


How far can a great white travel without rest?

That's right. Sharks don't stop to eat, sleep, rest or use the bathroom (They probably just do that while they're swimming). They can travel for days without stopping for a second. That's impressive.


How do sharks communicate?

Different shark species have different methods of communication, but none of them can use sounds, as they don't have vocal cords. Instead, they flap their tails or just bite things they don't like.


What's the biggest threat to all shark species?

Humans can kill up to 73 million sharks a year. While many of these deaths can be from our garbage littering the oceans, they are also killed on accident by boats, fished for food and hunted for trophies.


What part of the thresher shark is the most recognizable?

The thresher shark can be spotted from the enlarged and elongated top tail fin on its back. These sharks are usually found in tropical waters, and warm climates and are also known as the fox shark.


How does an angular roughshark get its name?

This shark has triangles all over its body, and its name cannot compare to how unique and interesting this shark actually looks. It also has teeth-like scales all over its body, making it very rough.


What do you know about a shark's eyesight?

Not only do most species of sharks have great eyesight, many of them can actually see in the dark. That doesn't just include the sharks that dwell at the bottom of the ocean in the midnight zone.


How do scientists know how old sharks are?

Just like trees, as sharks grow, they develop rings on their vertebrae. This helps scientists know an approximate age for the shark. While this isn't the most accurate way to tell the age of a shark, it does help give scientists an idea of how long a shark can live.


Can you name the bottom-dwelling shark that is known as a carpet shark?

While we might look at the name of the wobbegong and think that it's a made up word, these sharks are often found on the sandy floors near shorelines. They are often mistakenly caught in fishermen's nets.


Which ocean doesn't have any shark species at all?

No matter where you look, you'll find a shark in the ocean. As we know, sharks don't necessarily have to stay in salt water, though. Some shark species have evolved to be able to live in both fresh water and salt water.


Besides their skeletons, what else separates sharks from other fish?

In case you were wondering, a shark cannot blink. Their eyes have eyelids, unlike every other kind of fish in the ocean. The reason they don't use those eyelids is because as they swim, the water cleans their eyes for them.


Do you know what direction a shark can swim?

While many fish are able to swim in different directions (including backward), sharks are only able to swim forward. They can turn, but they are basically only able to swim in the direction their noses point to, because of their stiff fins.


What size is the smallest shark known to scientists?

The dwarf lantern shark is the smallest shark recorded by scientists. They usually just eat krill and other small fish and crustaceans. There are goldfish that live to be bigger than these sharks!


About how far away can a shark hear its prey?

Along with their great sense of sight, sharks also have an incredible sense of hearing. These two senses combined make them one of the most efficient predators on the planet.


When compared to other fish, what does a shark's brain look like?

Compared to all of the other fish in the ocean, a shark has the largest brain. While dolphins might be the smartest thing in the ocean, remember that dolphins are mammals and sharks are fish.


Does a larger shark live longer than a smaller shark?

While the majority of shark species live for about 20 or 30 years, it's common to see larger sharks live longer. For example, scientists have found that great white sharks can live up to forty years, and they are one of the biggest shark species.


Approximately when did hammerheads evolve to have their unique look?

Scientists believe that the hammerhead shark is the youngest new species of shark, having evolved from a different species some 20 million years ago. They believe this because no hammerhead fossils have been seen from before this time period.


How do most species of sharks like to hunt?

With exceptions in a few speices, most sharks like to hunt by themselves. The hammerhead shark does swim in packs and hunt together, but most other species of sharks aren't about sharing with the group.


When a great white shark jumps out of the water, how high can it get?

When great white sharks are hunting, they're known to do anything to catch their prey. That means that if their prey jumps, the great white will follow, and usually catch, the fish while it is out of water.


Which species of shark has four fins that function as legs to walk on the ocean floor?

A epaulette shark doesn't necessarily look like a regular shark, and part of that is because inches across the sea floor. These sharks are often found near the coasts of Australia and in other tropical waters.


Besides their teeth, what makes a shark's mouth unique?

With two jaws working at the same time, it's no wonder how a shark can produce 4,000 of pressure with each bite. This unique mouth movement helps them tear their food up and hunt.


When did the Megalodon live?

The word "Megalodon" means "big tooth," but there was much more about this shark that was big. These massive sharks were thought to reach nearly 60 feet long. They're the stuff nightmares are made of!


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