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Sharks

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Sharks

Sharks do not normally attack people, and only about 25 species of sharks have ever been known to do so. Fewer than 100 ocurrences are reported in any year. Humans are much more likely to be killed by bees, lightning or food poisoning than by sharks.

The sharks most dangerous to people are the Great White, the Tiger Shark, the Bull Shark and the Ocean White Tip Shark. The Bull Shark is the most frequent attacker of people, as it swims in very shallow waters where people swim, and is very plentiful. Some of the other sharks known to have attacked people include the gray shark, blue shark, hammerhead, mako shark, nurse shark, black tip reef shark, wobbegongs, sandtiger, spitting sharks and the porbeagle. Fortunately not ALL the above are to be found in sea around Acapulco.

Experts believe that sharks mistake people (especially people swimming on surf boards) for seals and sea lions, some of their favorite foods. Why people should not be a favorite shark food is hard to say. Perhaps we just do not taste that good. Add to that the fact that there are no seals in the Acapulco area, and you would think that people ought to be guzzled up every day. But they are not. Here is the list of sharks that swim our little patch of the Pacific ocean. It is a bit alarming, but as far as I know there has never been a shark attack in the area. This would have to be explained by the fact that there is plenty of other food. The fact that sharks are food for people might also be considered. Next time you bite into a "pescadilla" or "quesadilla de cazon," please bear in mind that you eating the very young offspring of one of the following.

SHORT FIN MAKO SHARK The short-finned mako shark (Isurus oxyrincus), also known as the bonito, is the fastest shark on earth and can also leap out of the water to a prodigious height. It has a cone-shaped snout, and long gill slits. Short-finned Makos average 5-8 feet (1.5-2.5 m) long but can reach 12 feet (3.7 m) long, weighing 1,000 pounds (455 kg). The Mako is considered dangerous to people. It reproduces via aplecental viviparity and the pups are cannibalistic in the womb. Makos can maintain a body temperature higher than that of the surrounding water.
SANDTIGER SHARK Sandtigers (Eugomphodus taurus) are also known as the Ragged tooth shark, the grey nurse shark, the sand shark, and the spotted ragged-tooth shark. They are widespread Mackerel sharks that range from gray to brown and are about 10-12 feet(3-3.7 m) long. They are fish-eaters with long, sharp teeth in a narrow snout. They eat and migrate in groups and are especially active at night. They are found mostly near coastlines, from the surface down to depths of 3,900 ft (1,200 m). While developing in the womb the embryos are cannibalistic, eating their siblings,so although many embryos are produced, only the two meanest are eventually born, one from each uterine chamber. The gestation period is about 8-9 months and the pups (the little darlings) are roughly 3.3 feet (1 m) long at birth.
SILKY SHARK The silky shark, Carcharhinus falciformis, is a widespread, deep-water shark,ranging from black to gray on top (and white to cream on the belly). These long,tapered sharks are fast swimmers and are about 10 feet (3 m) long. They have along, pointed snout. The teeth in the upper jaws are long, triangular, and serrated,but in the lower jaws are only slightly serrated. Silky sharks eat fish, squid,and crabs. They sometimes travel in schools segregated by sex, but nobody seems to know why. Females give birth to litters of 6-12 live pups, which are 29-31inches (75-80 cm) long at birth. These sharks are harvested commercially for their meat, liver and fins so are not as common as they should to be.
BIGNOSE SHARK The bignose shark (Carcharhinus altimus) is also known as Knopp's shark. This bottom dweller is found in warm-temperate and tropical seas. It is up to about10 ft (3 m) long. The skin is pale gray, but is lighter on the belly, with dark-tipped fins. Bony fish are the mainstay of their diet (they particularly like mackerel). The big nose produces litters which contain from 3 to 11 pups. Newborns are 27 to 35 inches (70-90 cm) long.
BLACKTIP SHARK Carcharhinus limbatus is also known as the spinner shark and is a common fish with black marking on the tips of the dorsal and pectoral fins. It is grayish on top and white underneath, with a white stripe running along the side of the body. It has a very long snout and can reach up to 9 feet ( 2.8 m) in length.It is harmless to people unless provoked or while eating. Try to avoid swimming with them at lunch time. It is found all over the place; in the western and eastern Atlantic Ocean, and the central, western, and eastern Pacific Ocean. Black tip sharks live at the surface and in shallows, and they migrate along the coasts.Their diet consists mostly of small fish, squid, and crustaceans. They are not averse to the occasional leg or elbow. They have been seen jumping out of the water during feeding. Females give birth to 4-8 live young (10 inches or 25 cm long) after a gestation period of about 10 to 11 months.
BLUE SHARK Prince glauca, the blue shark, as its name suggests, is an indigo-colored shark.It is sleek with long, pointed fins and a pointed nose. It has large eyes and grows to be up to 12.5 feet (3.8 m) long. Its diet consists mostly of squid, but it will eat almost anything, including adults, large and small children and animals and is found worldwide, but it is endangered due to over fishing, leaving it low on the list of potential dangers.
BULL SHARK Carcharhinus leucas has many names: the Ganges shark, Cub shark, the River shark, the Zambezi shark, the Shovel nose shark, the Slipway gray shark, the Square-nose shark, the Nicaragua shark, the Swan River Whaler, and Van Rooyen's shark. It is a large, fierce predator that eats almost anything fish, including other sharks,ray, birds and turtles. It has been known to attack people and will venture far into fresh water. It has been found over 1700 miles up the Mississippi and in Peru 2600 miles up the Amazon. This is probably the most dangerous of all sharks to people. It is best to avoid it.
LEOPARD SHARK The leopard shark, is a beautiful and completely harmless shark with leopard-like markings. This gentle animal can grow to be up to 6 ft (1.8 m) long. This cat shark has small, sharp, pointed teeth with which it catches fish worms, clams, crabs,shrimp, and octopus. It is a social shark and travels in schools. It is found off the North American coast from Oregon, USA to Mexico. It gives birth to up to 24 pups each spring. This shark is being depleted by over-fishing.
OCEANIC WHITETIP SHARK Carcharinus longimanus is a large, thick-bodied, slow-moving shark with very large,paddle-shaped pectoral fins and white tips on its pectoral, and dorsal fins and tail and is found in all tropical and subtropical waters. It can grow to be about 13'(4 m) long, but is normally about 10 feet (3 m) long. A potentially dangerous predator, it is very aggressive and eats just about anything, fortunately it lives far offshore and at depths of up to 500 feet (150 m). Litters are of up to 15pups (the number increasing with the size of the mother) after a 1 year gestation period.
SHARPNOSE SHARK The Sharpnose Shark (Rhizoprionodon terraenovae) is a harmless, edible, requiem shark (Family Carcharinidae). The Sharpnose is a small, slender shark with 5 gill slits, two dorsal fins, an anal fin, no fin spines, the mouth behind the eyes,and nictitating eyelids. It has a long, sharp snout, black-edged dorsal and caudal fins (which fade with age), and furrowed or wrinkled corners of the mouth. It is brown to olive-gray colored with white on the belly and is from 2 to 4 feet(60-120 cm) long. A carnivore, it eats small fish, mollusks and shrimp. The sharpnosehas litters of 4 to 7 pups.
MANTA RAY Manta rays (Manta birostris) are closely related to sharks. These elegant and graceful swimmers, which can regularly be seen performing outside the bay, are up to 29.5 ft (9 m) wide, but average about 22 ft (6.7 m) wide. Mantas are dark brown to black on top; they are mostly white underneath. These huge rays have a short tail and no stinging spine and are absolutely harmless. Mantas eat microscopicplankton, small fish, and tiny crustaceans. The largest weighs about 3,000 pounds(1350 kg). They are very acrobatic; they can even leap from the water. Mantas are common and are found worldwide in tropical seas, living both close to shore and in open seas.
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