Shark Fun Facts & Craft Round-Up with an Emphasis on Great Whites


As I mentioned in my last post I am visiting Cape Cod. Our house is on a marsh, and I shared a bit about saltwater marshes earlier this week. The other big thing in the news on Cape Cod is great white sharks. In fact, on this trip, we visited the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy's Shark Center in Chatham. I learned quite a bit about great white sharks and sharks in general there, but I also got a few books out of the library and did some searches for fun facts for you. There are more than 500 species of sharks and over 100 of them are endangered! Yet sharks have survived all five of the Earth's major extinctions. July 14th is Shark Awareness Day so this post will have you all set for it!

Many people fear sharks however a beachgoer has a one in 11.5 million chance of being bitten by a shark. And sharks are bite samplers. They will bite a person but won't eat them. Sharks spit out food they don't like. More than three-quarters of sharks rarely see a human or are unable to eat humans! So have no fear this summer. Go enjoy the beach!!

"Bruce" Actual Prop from Jaws Movie


At the Shark Center we got to see this wonderful prop from the actual Jaws movie. The crew affectionately called the shark Bruce, and the name has stuck. Based on the proportions of this prop, Bruce would be 30-feet long. As you will learn this is a very exaggerated size. Jaws was the first summer blockbuster ever!! It is also the reason many people fear sharks! Interestingly enough Jaws author (as in the novel), Peter Benchley, has a shark species named after him. It is Etmopterus benchleyi

Shark Fun Facts

  • Sharks are older than dinosaurs. They have been on earth for over 400 million years.
  • Sharks swim in all of the Earth’s oceans.
  • Most sharks are cold-blooded.
  • Sharks' hearts are shaped like an "S" and their stomachs are shaped like a "U". Their intestines are corkscrew shaped.
  • Sharks have cartilage instead of bones. They have unique notches and ridges on the edge of their dorsal fin that help researchers identify each one. They work like fingerprints!
  • Sharks can range in size to smaller than a human hand to about the size of a school bus!
  • If sharks stop swimming they will sink and drown. They have negative buoyancy.
  • Sharks cannot swim backwards.
  • Shark skin is textured with little teeth like scales called denticles. The denticles are about the width of two human hairs. Their skin has been study by the U.S. Navy and more and used as a model for ships and swimsuits. Olympic swimmers use the suits to swim faster. The Navy used the technology to not have barnacles attack the hulls of ships.
  • Female sharks have skin that is two times thicker than male sharks' skin.
  • If a shark is put on its back it goes into a relaxed trance-like state.
  • Most sharks see in color and have good vision especially in low light. Scientists believe they can see ten times better in low light than humans. Their eyes shine in the dark like a cat eyes.
  • Most sharks have special eyelids that protect their eyes when they eat.
  • Shark teeth never dull. Indigenous people in Brazil used to use shark teeth on weapons for this reason.
  • Some sharks grow a new set of teeth every two weeks.
  • Their jaws are not attached to their skulls. This enables them to thrust its mouth forward when attacking.
  • Sharks have no vocal cords and therefore are silent creatures.
  • Their stomachs contain acids that are strong enough to melt metal.
  • Sharks have internal ears. They use inner ears to keep their balance like humans.
  • Two-thirds of their brain is used for the sense of smell. They find food using special pores on their snouts. They allow them to sense the electrical currents their prey gives off.

Facts About Certain Species:

  • Goblin sharks are pink.
  • Pyjama sharks are named for their striped bodies that resemble pajama stripes.
  • Kitefin sharks are the largest known bioluminescent vertebrate. They are about 6 feet long. 
  • A female whale shark can give birth to as many as 300 pups.
  • Sand tiger pups eat each other in their mother’s womb so there is only one left to be born.
  • Whale sharks don’t have eyelids but have tiny teeth that cover their eyes.
  • Greenland sharks can live to be over 400 years old.

Great White Sharks

  • A great white sharks' liver can be up to a quarter of its body weight. They store their fat in the liver. A pod of orcas will sometimes attack a great white and eat only the liver.
  • Great whites have only two predators—orcas and humans.
  • The great white shark’s coloring helps it sneak up on its prey. If the prey is above the top of the shark looks like it is murky deep water. If the prey is below the shark the white on the shark looks like the sunlight above.
  • Scientists believe that the great white can change the color of its skin to hide themselves from prey.
  • Great white sharks chomp their prey. Then they shake it from side to side to tear the flesh loose. They have a set of 300 triangular teeth set in seven rows. The tooth can grow to be as high as six inches.
  • Great whites can leap out of the water when attacking prey.
  • Great white sharks can detect a single drop of blood in the water from up to 1/3 of a mile. They can smell a colony of sea lions two miles away.
  • A newborn great white shark is as long as a bathtub or about 5 feet. They must look after themselves immediately. They shed their teeth while in the womb.
  • Great white sharks grow about 10 inches a year until they reach adulthood.
  • Smaller great whites eat fish, rays and crustaceans. As they grow so does their diet. The bigger great whites also eat seals, sea lions, dolphins, sea birds, turtles, and other sharks. Their teeth also change as they age so they can eat these other animals.

  • Small fish swarm around a great white’s poop.
  • Young great white sharks have weaker bites because the cartilage in their jaws hasn’t hardened yet.
  • Great white sharks are mostly loaners and roam widely.
  • They use electroreception to navigate and detect prey.
  • They have two types of muscles. One for slow swimming and the other for short powerful strikes. They can travel up to 50 miles per day. The warmer the muscles the more power and speed which helps with hunting. They are made up of almost all muscle and very little fat.
  • They can almost turn their stomachs inside out to expel bones and shell fragments.
  • Females can live for forty or more years. Males live for seventy or more.
  • Adult great whites can be 21 feet in length and weigh up to 7000 pounds. Females are larger than males. They are the largest predatory fish in the ocean.
  • Unlike most sharks, great whites are partially warm-blooded.

For more information on sharks and especially great whites, check out these books we found in our library.

1) Great White Shark by Claire Saxby shares a look at a pregnant great white shark as she finds a warm place to give birth. Throughout the book are facts about the sharks. 
2) If Sharks Disappeared by Lily Williams shares how everything in the world is connected and if one thing disappears it is bad for all of us.
3) Weird But True! Sharks: 300 Fin-nomenal Facts to Dive Into from National Geographic Kids shares hundreds of fun facts.

I also reviewed a great book on sharks a few years ago!!

On Cape Cod the sharks have become a big deal!! There are many businesses capitalizing on them. We picked up some merchandise at the Shark Center that had this on it:

Sources for the post:

One more fact for you: Tiger sharks have been found with license plates and tires in their stomachs. We need to do more to take care of our wildlife!! Although sharks are an apex predator they can be killed by orcas and humans. Many humans have killed sharks for sport or for the popular shark fins. Shark fin soup is considered a delicacy in some parts of the world. The governments are finally putting laws in place to protect these creatures. They are older than the dinosaurs, but we are killing them off for no reason besides human greed.

Shark Craft Round-Up

Over the years I have done some shark craft round-ups. You can find one here and another here. Today I am sharing around 40 shark crafts and have broken them into different categories. The first shares a great white craft and two hammerhead crafts.

1) Great White Shark Craft from The Craft Train (Note: This template costs money)
2) Hammerhead Shark Magnet Craft from Kids Activities Blog
3) Hammerhead Shark Puppet Craft from Simple Everyday Mom

The next group is made with paper including some printables.
1) Shark Cookie Cutter Painting with Q-Tip and Watercolors from 3 Dinosaurs
2) Giant Shark Suncatcher Craft from And Next Comes L
3) Shark Craft with Cotton Swabs from Crafts on Sea
4) Paper Bag Shark Craft from Crafts on Sea
5) Easy Shark Craft from Messy Little Monster
6) Mixed Media Collage Shark from Little Bins for Little Hands
7) Origami Shark from Kids Activities Blog
8) Origami Shark Bookmark from Kids Activities Blog
12) Shark Cookie Cutter Painting from 3 Dinosaurs
13) 3D Swimming Shark Craft from Arty Crafty Kids (Note: Membership is required to get template)
14) Mixed Media Shark Craft from Arty Crafty Kids (Note: Membership is required to get template)
15) Shark Cut and Paste Craft from Parenting Chaos (Note: This template costs money)

Our next group uses paper plates, paper bags, and other common things.

1) Silly No Sew Shark Sock Puppet from Kids Activities Blog
2) Pom Pom Sharks from Ocean Child Crafts via Red Ted Art
3) Shark Fin Wreath from 3 Dinosaurs
4) Paper Plate Shark from Simple Everyday Mom
5) Paper Plate Shark from Kids Activities
6) Paper Plate Shark for Preschoolers from Beth Ann Averill
7) Fierce Paper Plate Shark from Kids Activities Blog
8) Megalodon Shark Tooth Project from Tina's Dynamic Homeschool+
9) Printable Shark Jokes & Puns from Confidence Meets Parenting
10) Egg Carton Shark Craft from Kids Activities Blog
11) Clay Pot Sharks from Rediscovered Families

Our final group includes Baby Shark themed crafts, educational crafts and sensory crafts.

1) Paper Plate Baby Shark Craft from A Little Pinch of Perfect
2) Feed the Shark Color Matching Game from Messy Little Monster
3) Shark Name Craft from Simple Everyday Mom
5) Printable Shark Puppets from Picklebums
6) Shark Sensory Bottle from Parenting Chaos
8) Shark Fin Painting from 3 Dinosaurs
9) Feed the Shark Sensory Bag from Kids Activities Blog
10) Megalodon Shark Tooth Project from Tina's Dynamic Homeschool+
11) Cereal Box Shark Pull String Pinata from Kids Activities Blog