Sharks swim all over this earth’s oceans and interact differently in the environment; feeding, brooding, range, and life spans all vary between the species. In contrast with popular fiction, shark behaviour, and feeding habits also vary between the species. One thing to remember about sharks is; if you saw it in a movie, it’s more than likely bad science and not indicative of true shark behaviour.
Almost all sharks are carnivorous, although hunting and feeding practices vary between the some 470 known species now swimming in our oceans. Most sharks use a hunting method scientifically called cooperative feeding; meaning they travel, hunt, and feed in packs. This allows these sharks to hunt, kill, and feed on animals that may be larger than the predator shark hunting it.
Not all sharks hunt in this manner; although they move from feeding ground to feeding ground in groups, Great White Sharks hunt separately. This is easily done for the Great White Shark due to its’ size, as well as the ferocity and force of their bite. Great Whites hunt large prey in typically coastal waters, and although the popular myth is that they are coastal fish, Great Whites have been sighted past 3,000 feet underwater in open ocean. Great whites also utilise a hunting technique called breaching when hunting and feeding on seals near coastal waters; but primarily, Great Whites typically swallow their prey whole or take large parts through biting and thrashing once a bite is complete. Many sharks use this biting and thrashing technique in order to consume prey.
Not all sharks consume prey this way though. Whale Sharks, and a few other species, feed by filtering algae, krill, and other similarly sized fish and aquatic creatures. Although the Whale Shark has small teeth, it is understood that they are not used for feeding. Basking Sharks use this type of feeding technique, and although it is similar to Whale Sharks, it cannot force water into its’ mouth through ramming or swallowing; instead swimming at speed with its’ mouth open. This feeding technique is known as ram feeding.
Again, a little education goes a long way; and will help debunk many myths and untruths portrayed by horror and science fiction films depicting sharks and their feeding habits. Although what I have wrote here is a fraction of information concerning the some 470 species of sharks, it will hopefully show some truth about sharks against the portrayal in movies, and even; I dare say; some documentaries.
Many tourist diving operations are using chum and cages in the water to excite the animals and produce a near frenzy of the sharks for the thrill and entertainment of the diver in the cage. This practise is actually associating divers with food for the animals and creating a potentially hazardous scenario for divers who may interact with sharks in other waters; and in my opinion is cruel to the animal. Other species of shark are actually docile around divers, but thanks to science fiction, all are lumped into the same category; man eating. As far as I know, no one, has ever been “eaten by a shark”; bit maybe, but not eaten. But this is what is portrayed by the mass media.