what do greenland sharks eat

What Do Greenland Sharks Eat?

Written by: Gemmali Dizor

Greenland sharks are mysterious creatures that reside in the deep, icy waters of the North Atlantic Ocean. They are known for their long lives and slow-moving behavior, but what do they actually eat? Let’s take a closer look at the diet of these fascinating animals.

What do Greenland Sharks Eat?

Greenland sharks are known to be opportunistic feeders, meaning they will consume a wide variety of prey. Their diet consists primarily of fish, including Arctic cod, redfish, and capelin, as well as marine mammals such as seals, whales, and walruses.

Greenland sharks are also known to scavenge, consuming carrion (dead animals) when available. This behavior has led to the belief that they are slow-moving and passive predators, but recent studies have shown that they are capable of swift, sudden movements when hunting their prey.

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Feeding Behavior

Greenland sharks are slow swimmers, capable of reaching speeds of only about 1.5 miles per hour. This sluggish behavior, combined with their deep-sea habitat, has led to their reputation as passive predators. However, they are actually highly adapted to their environment and are capable of hunting successfully in the dark, cold waters of the North Atlantic.

Their feeding behavior is characterized by short bursts of speed, where they quickly close in on their prey and grab it with their sharp teeth. They then swallow the prey whole, using their powerful jaws to crush and consume it.

Importance of the Arctic Cod in their Diet

Arctic cod is a particularly important part of the Greenland shark’s diet, as it makes up a significant portion of their food intake. This species of fish is abundant in the waters surrounding Greenland and is well adapted to the cold temperatures and high pressures of the deep sea.

Greenland sharks feed on Arctic cod using a combination of passive and active hunting techniques. They use their slow movements to sneak up on schools of cod, and then use short bursts of speed to quickly grab and swallow their prey.

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Adaptations to their Diet

Greenland sharks have a number of adaptations that allow them to survive and thrive in their challenging deep-sea habitat. For example, they have a highly developed sense of smell, which they use to locate potential prey in the darkness of the ocean depths.

In addition, they have a slow metabolism, which helps them conserve energy and survive long periods without food. This is particularly important in their environment, where food is scarce and they must travel long distances to find their next meal.


Greenland sharks are fascinating creatures that have adapted to their deep-sea habitat in unique and effective ways. Their diet of fish, marine mammals, and carrion helps them survive in the challenging conditions of the North Atlantic.

Now that you have a better understanding of what Greenland sharks eat, you can appreciate the complex and adaptive nature of these creatures.

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