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In this lesson, you will learn important facts about the habitat of the ocean’s most dangerous predator: the shark. Sharks are found all over the world’s oceans, but some prefer to call certain areas home.

A Flexible Predator

Sharks are very adaptable creatures, which means that they can change and adjust to survive.

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Sharks are also fierce predators, and can feed on many different ocean animals. Since they are so adaptable and have a broad availability of food, they can move around frequently. Sharks do not make a home in one particular area to live in.

Unlike a bird that builds a nest or a beaver that constructs a dam, sharks do not build homes. The main reason for this is that most sharks have to swim continually and move to breathe.

The Great White Shark hunts for prey
great white shark

Sharks can also move from place to place because they do not stay and take care of the eggs that they lay. When baby sharks hatch, they are ready to take care of themselves right away (unlike human babies!). Still, the biggest danger to sharks and their habitats is human activity: humans pollute their homes and often hunt sharks for food.

Where Do Sharks Live?

An animal’s habitat is the place or area in which they live.

Sharks are a type of fish, which means that they breathe through gills and need to live in the water. But you don’t have to worry that you will run into a shark when you step into a pond, river or lake because most sharks live in the ocean. Sharks are found living in many different bodies of water around the world. Just like most animals, different species of sharks prefer different types of water.

A shark swims in shallow water
shark in shallow water

The world’s oceans are huge and cover the majority of our planet with water.

Some parts of the ocean are deep and have freezing cold water. Other ocean areas are shallow and may have coral reefs. Sharks can make a home in wide-open oceans, shallow waves, and sometimes, they even live in freshwater. In fact, sharks live in every ocean in the world.

The largest numbers of sharks live in tropical waters. These are the oceans near the equator or the middle of the earth. The water here generally stays warm all year. In tropical waters, you can find the whale shark which is an enormous filter-feeding shark, as well as nurse sharks, hammerhead sharks, and tiger sharks. Some will stay in just one area, while others will swim around the entire world, staying in the tropical zone.

A shark swims in warm waters near Mexico
shark swims

The icy cold waters near the North Pole, and the South Pole are called the polar regions. Despite the freezing temperatures, these oceans are also home to some shark species. They swim under the ice, feeding on fish in the winter, and breaking through the ice to attack seals and porpoises when it’s warmer. If you visit the polar regions in search of sharks, you might see the Greenland sleeper shark or the black dogfish shark.

Almost all sharks live in salt water, but there are a few species that have been spotted in rivers and freshwater. One amazing and aggressive shark is the bull shark. It lives in warm, shallow waters and can survive in both freshwater and saltwater. Another family of sharks that lives mainly in rivers: the Glyphis sharks. They are relatively small and have been spotted in Australia and New Guinea. But these sharks are very secretive, so very little is known about this mysterious river shark.

Lesson Summary

Sharks are adaptable predators whose habitats cover the entire planet. Sharks live in any ocean, and some, even though it’s very rare, are seen in rivers. Although many people are scared of sharks, the truth is that humans are a bigger danger to sharks and their homes than they are to us.

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