By Discovery Channel
SHARK WEEK, television’s longest-running and eagerly awaited summer TV event returns to Discovery Channel for its 30th anniversary installment this July. Yes, you read that right! It’s been three decades since the premiere of this program!
For the longest time, sharks have been associated with being vicious hunters of the sea. But did you know that sharks weren’t born hunters, and just like you and me they have to learn and eventually put their intelligence to good use.
So here are 5 things we learnt about sharks, all thanks to Shark Week 😀
Sharks are strategic hunters
Just like humans aren’t born knowing everything, great whites aren’t born knowing how to hunt seals. They have to learn. At South Africa’s Dyer Island, young great whites are often seen clumsily attacking their prey, and usually missing. After years of practice, they eventually “graduate” to hunting at a nearby Seal Island, where old veterans like Colossus have a 48% success rate when attacking seals at the surface. However, sharks don’t give up; they learn through trial and error – just like humans!
3. Sharks socialise with one another
Competition for prey can be fierce, so white sharks have worked out a clever social ranking system to avoid unnecessary fighting amongst themselves. Specific behaviours like circling, fin flapping and trail thrashing are some of the ways that white sharks have learned to establish dominance or contest kills without resorting to violence. Talk about intelligence!
4. Sharks are curious creatures (and to an extent – playful!)
Sharks are curious creatures, they commonly approach divers and boats simply to investigate in a non-threatening way. Sharks mouth or take test bites of potential prey to get a better sense of what they are; in fact, most shark attacks are simply test bites. Sharks may also play; porbeagles seemingly play with kelp and driftwood, and great whites have been observed tossing live seals repeatedly into the air.
5. Sharks work together
While we think of sharks as solitary creatures, they do occasionally band together. Sevengill sharks work together to encircle their prey; one will play decoy while another attacks from behind. Whale biologist Peter Best reported seeing a group of white sharks working together to move the carcass of a beached whale into deeper water so that they could more easily feed on it, suggesting they are bright enough to understand the basics of flotation.
What refreshing facts to learn about sharks, isn’t it? If that sparked your interest in these dynamic and strong creatures, you’ll be glad to know that there’s more where that came from!
Watch Olympian, MMA champion and current WWE Superstar Ronda Rousey take on her fiercest opponent yet: the fastest, bitiest shark in the world and the ultimate fighter of the sea – the Mako Shark. Also catch Bear Grylls as he makes a triumphant return to Discovery as he goes head to head with the ocean’s apex predator in their home field. SHARK WEEK continues to deliver all-new exciting shark stories by delivering interesting insights into one of the world’s most misunderstood creatures.
SHARK WEEK will be premiering on Discovery Channel (Astro Channel 551) on Monday, 23rd July 2018 @ 9pm and will run until Sunday, 29th July 2018.