Wonderful Senses

Wonderful senses help sharks to find their prey. There are not many animals on earth that can locate prey and track it down as well as a shark can. Even in murky water, or in complete darkness, a shark can tell where prey is. It can tell whether the prey is hurt or not. And it can even find prey that is buried under the sand!

Sharks are not the stupid eating machines that many people think they are. They are very sensitive to everything that is going on in the water around them. And they can react very quickly to the information that their senses bring to them.

Wonderful senses help sharks to find their prey. There are not many animals on earth that can locate prey and track it down as well as a shark can. Even in murky water, or in complete darkness, a shark can tell where prey is. It can tell whether the prey is hurt or not. And it can even find prey that is buried under the sand!

Sharks are not the stupid eating machines that many people think they are. They are very sensitive to everything that is going on in the water around them. And they can react very quickly to the information that their senses bring to them.

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Some sharks actually use electricity to help them catch their prey. They are able to pick up very small electrical impulses through hundreds of tiny holes in their faces. The holes are called the ampullae of Lorenzini. All living creatures give off small electrical signals as they breathe or move, so the ampullae can guide the shark to its prey at close range.

Hearing is probably the best of all a shark’s senses. Some sharks may be able to hear prey in the water from 800 feet away. They use their ears to learn which direction the sound is coming from, and then turn to swim toward it.

On the sides of their bodies, sharks have lines of small holes that are sensitive to small movements in the water around them. These are called lateral line organs. When fish swim nearby, the motion of their bodies causes small movements in the water. The lateral line organs pick these up, and the shark knows where the fish are, even if it cannot see them.

The eyes of sharks are very sensitive to light. They are made for seeing things under the water, where light can be very dim. As a shark closes in on its prey, the eyes work with all the other senses to help guide the attack.

When a shark is a few hundred yards from its prey, it probably uses its nose to find its way. Sharks have been called “swimming noses” because their sense of smell is so good. Some kinds of sharks can smell one part of blood in 100 million parts of water. And by turning their heads from side to side, they can tell the direction that a smell is coming from.

One look at a shark’s brain will tell you how important smell is in finding prey. The part of the brain devoted to smell can be two-thirds of the total brain. In a human brain, the area devoted to smell is much smaller.

Some sharks actually use electricity to help them catch their prey. They are able to pick up very small electrical impulses through hundreds of tiny holes in their faces. The holes are called the ampullae of Lorenzini. All living creatures give off small electrical signals as they breathe or move, so the ampullae can guide the shark to its prey at close range.

Hearing is probably the best of all a shark’s senses. Some sharks may be able to hear prey in the water from 800 feet away. They use their ears to learn which direction the sound is coming from, and then turn to swim toward it.

On the sides of their bodies, sharks have lines of small holes that are sensitive to small movements in the water around them. These are called lateral line organs. When fish swim nearby, the motion of their bodies causes small movements in the water. The lateral line organs pick these up, and the shark knows where the fish are, even if it cannot see them.

The eyes of sharks are very sensitive to light. They are made for seeing things under the water, where light can be very dim. As a shark closes in on its prey, the eyes work with all the other senses to help guide the attack.

When a shark is a few hundred yards from its prey, it probably uses its nose to find its way. Sharks have been called “swimming noses” because their sense of smell is so good. Some kinds of sharks can smell one part of blood in 100 million parts of water. And by turning their heads from side to side, they can tell the direction that a smell is coming from.

One look at a shark’s brain will tell you how important smell is in finding prey. The part of the brain devoted to smell can be two-thirds of the total brain. In a human brain, the area devoted to smell is much smaller.