Sharks are alpha predators, and there are over 500 shark species. Some unique characteristics of fish include dorsal fins, pectoral fins (you can find this on their sides like plane wings which help them swim smoothly), a cartilage skeleton, and denticles rather than the usual scales which cover other fish.
Sharks are not always big as they range in size from the dwarf Lantern shark that can fit into your hand to the whale shark that is about 60 feet long.
But interestingly, these alpha predators constitute a staple diet for other animals! Can you imagine that? Yes, sharks are eaten by other animals as well. But what animals eat sharks?
This shocking piece discusses what animals eat sharks. Read on to find out.
What Animals Eat Sharks?
Great Hammerhead Sharks
The Great Hammerhead Sharks (Sphyrna mokarran) are shark predators too. They feed on their kind. Great Hammerhead sharks can grow up to 20 feet long and even weigh up to 1000 pounds.
The hammerhead generally preys on stingrays and smaller shark species. They are referred to as shark and ray specialists because these two are the basis of their diet.
Hammerhead sharks are also known as hammerheads because they have flat heads that look like a hammer. Also, they possess two eyes on both sides of their weird-looking heads. But these extremely dangerous “shark-eater sharks” are classified as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Bull sharks are another prolific group of shark-eaters. They are so dangerous that they have a high kill rate for their targets.
Bull sharks (Carcharhinus leucas) are carnivores you can find in tropics and subtropics waters, and they love to eat other sharks. They are about 12 feet long and are one of the few shark species that can survive in fresh water and brackish water for a while without serious repercussions.
They are a unique species of sharks that hunt and eat other sharks, especially baby sharks. Their strategy is head-butting their prey before proceeding to eat them.
Bull sharks are famous for their predatory instincts, identifying them as the third most dangerous shark species. This is because they will eat anything and everything they catch without fail.
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Great White Sharks
This shark-eater fish will eat any other fish that comes its way irrespective of its species, including small sharks. They are responsible for most of the reported shark attacks on humans.
With the scientific name Carcharodon carcharias, great white sharks are carnivores that measures more than 20 feet in length. Their size makes them a worthy competitor to the hammerhead as these two shark species are the largest sharks there are. Great white sharks possess big mouths which contain about 300 teeth similar to the size of knives, a gray body, and a white underside.
In addition, they possess astonishing speed and can even get themselves out of the water to catch prey that float on top or try to escape.
A list of animals that eat sharks would be incomplete without Tiger sharks. They are famous for hunting and eating young sharks. Tiger sharks (Galeocerdo cuvier) are sharks with vertical stripes (just like tiger stripes) that run through their bodies. They eat anything that fits into their mouth, including other sharks, and the term wastebasket of the ocean fits them so well.
Averagely, tiger sharks weigh about 14 feet in height, and you can find tiger sharks in shallow coastal water in many parts of the world. In addition, they are famous for being the next most dangerous shark in existence after the great white sharks.
Another group of animals that will have sharks for a meal is the giant groupers. Giant groupers (Epinephelus Ianceolatus) are carnivores that can eat an entire shark. You will find the giant groupers mainly on Australia’s coastlines.
They possess wide mouths with seven rows of sharp teeth in their lower jaws. This helps them eat sharks and other fish just fine in no time. Giant groupers are about 8 feet long and are one of the biggest species you can find on the reefs. They are so big that they can eat some sharks in a single bite.
Another interesting fact about the giant groupers is that they are hermaphrodites. Therefore, they attain their sexuality once they are 20 years of age. Of all fish species, this fish has the most extended lifespan as they can go on to 50 years of age.
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Orcas eat sharks too. Orcas (Orcinus orca) are mammals you can find in waters of the temperate zones, subtropics, and tropics. They are carnivores. You can recognize them by their white and black patterned body and white spots, which look like eyes on the side of their heads.
Orcas are shark predators and will waste no time feasting on any shark that crosses their path. This whale has a preference on the part of sharks they like best. Orcas are very precise when they hunt as they like to cut open great white sharks and eat their fatty livers.
Orcas are species you can find in most oceans around the world and are suspected to be responsible for the reduction of great white sharks.
Do Humans Eat Sharks?
Yes, humans eat sharks. The massive consumers of shark fish and fins are still the Asian nations so far. There are lots of meats to get from sharks because of their body weight, and this is one reason some humans love it.
Although sharks have a lot of health risks to humans if eaten, humans remain one of the largest shark predators so far.
Always confirm whether it is legal or not to consume sharks in your country before hunting for and killing sharks for food.
Although sharks eat many sea creatures and are at the top of the food chain, they also need to watch their backs. Their size, strength, and dominance do not make them less susceptible to predators from within and outside.
Every dominant creature has a predator they are also afraid of, and this article vividly highlights this fact. So when you think about what animals eat sharks, remember that many shark species, among other shark-eaters, are prolific shark hunters.