There are more than 400 known species of sharks and they have been on earth for 420 million years. That’s about 415 million years longer than humans have been around!
Humans are afraid of sharks because they look scary and sometimes attack people. But sharks should be more afraid of us — a full quarter of all shark species have been hunted to extinction by humans.
So, to help you become more familiar with these beautiful but scary beasts, we’ve ranked the best of the sharks based on unusualness, leaving out all the boring ones.
17. The Goblin Shark: Not only is it the ugliest shark, it's also the pinkest. At 3 metres (10 feet) long, the goblin looks terrifying. It lives near the shore, too. But don't worry, it's a slow swimmer and doesn't eat humans.
16. The Sawshark: It's got a saw for a nose! These 1.7 m (5.6 ft) sharks swim in schools and use their scary snouts to dig for prey in the sand.
13. The Speartooth River Shark: This 6-footer makes our ranking because it can live in both salty AND fresh water -- so even swimming in a river won't keep you safe. They bite humans, too. If you can avoid the mangrove swamps of Northern Australia you'll probably be fine.
12. The Cookiecutter Shark: Doesn't look like much, given its small size. But guess how it gets its name? Its teeth are set in a circular jaw, so that when it bites you it takes out a cookie-shaped chunk of flesh.
11. The Wobbegong: This bottom-dwelling 1.2m (4ft) Australian carpet shark gets its name from the Aboriginal, meaning 'shaggy beard.' The Aussies eat them in fish and chips.
10. The Megamouth Shark: There are only about 60 living specimens of this incredibly rare beast. The one seen in the photo below was caught in the Philippines in January. They grow up to 5.5m (18ft) in length. They aren't much of a threat though: They eat plankton and only swim at about 2mph.
9. Megalodon: OK, so this shark became extinct 2.6 million years ago -- but it was the largest shark ever, at up to 30m (98ft) long. This is a picture of a megalodon eating two whales! The inset shows how its jaws could comfortably accommodate a human.
8. Tiger Shark: This shark will eat anything, including humans. One study found the remains of goats, horses, and even cats in the stomachs of tiger sharks. It even eats garbage!
7. The White Tip: If your ship sinks, this is the shark that will eat you: It is thought to be the most deadly shark to humans, having consumed several hundred survivors of the sinkings of both the USS Indianapolis and the Novia Scotia in World War 2. It swims under the radar, however, because it is a deep sea fish.
6. Angel Shark: Looks like a ray, acts like a catfish. The 1.5m (4ft angel sits on the sandy bottom of the sea waiting for smaller fish to go by, and then it ambushes them. Bites divers too, but not fatally.
5. Thresher Shark: threshers look cool for a reason - they use their tails to whip individual fish, stunning them so they can be eaten. Half the body length of a 6m / 20ft thresher is its rear fin.
4. The Horn Shark: If you want a shark as a pet then the gentle, sluggish horn shark is the way to go. It hangs out on the seabed, grazing on shellfish until its teeth turn purple. Sleeps during the day and comes out at night. Never strays more than 10 miles from its home.
3. Basking Shark: This 12m (39ft) long beast is the second-largest fish of any type and can be found off the coast of Scotland -- or anywhere in temperate waters where there is lots of plankton that it can filter through its massive mouth and gills.
2. The Hammerhead: Do NOT mess with a hammerhead. They can grow up to 6m (20ft) and have 360-degree vision. Now consider their sex life: 'the male hammerhead shark will bite the female shark quite violently until she agrees to mate.'* They eat humans, too.
1. Whale Shark: The whale shark is indisputably the best shark. It's the biggest at 13m (42ft) and the heaviest at 21 tonnes. It doesn't eat humans and younger whale sharks sometimes 'play' with divers. In Vietnam, whale sharks are worshipped as 'ca-ong' gods. In the Philippines, the whale shark's portrait adorns the 100-peso bill.
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