Q:

How big are sharks?

A:

Quick Answer

The size of a shark depends on its species. The largest living shark, the whale shark, averages 31.82 feet long. The extinct megalodon was even bigger at about 60 feet long. The smallest shark is the dwarf lanternshark, which is only 6.7 inches long.

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Full Answer

There are over 470 species of living sharks. Their primary habitat is the oceans, though bull sharks and river sharks can live in fresh water. Most sharks are carnivorous, but some species feed on plankton. Some shark species hunt in packs and feed cooperatively. Sharks are capable of learning and have been observed investigating novel objects and engaging in play.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    How do sharks communicate?

    A:

    Different sharks communicate within their own species in different ways; for example, the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History reports that great white sharks can communicate with each other by gaping their jaws while the University of Michigan says that gray reef sharks communicate using their senses of sight and touch. In general, sharks are not believed to have linguistic communication abilities, relying instead on other senses to communicate.

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  • Q:

    What do sharks eat?

    A:

    The diets of sharks vary according to species, but most sharks eat fish, squid and crustaceans. Although they have preferences, sharks tend to be opportunistic hunters, eating what is available according to where they are at a given time.

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  • Q:

    Do sharks live in groups or alone?

    A:

    Sharks may be social or solitary animals living on their own, depending on the species. Since they are equipped with teeth at birth, they do not need to rely on each other for survival.

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  • Q:

    How big can sharks grow?

    A:

    The largest shark, a whale shark grows to a length of 60 feet or more and can weigh as much as 20 tons. Whale sharks are not only the biggest shark in the world but also the biggest fish.

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