#44: Many People Ask - Why do sharks have so many teeth?

As one of our sand tiger sharks swim by you often hear visitors gasp and say “Look at all those teeth!!!”

But why do sharks have so many teeth?
Sharks and rays are elasmobranches, or cartilaginous fishes. This means unlike us or any of the other fish that live in the Giant Ocean Tank, their skeleton is made out of cartilage not bone. Therefore shark's teeth are not anchored in bone but instead loosely embedded in their gums above their jaws. Not being anchored in bone means a shark's tooth can fall out very easily. When a tooth falls out it is replaced with another tooth from a row of teeth behind it, in a conveyor belt fashion. Depending on the species 3-15 rows of teeth can be visible! One shark can produce thousands teeth in its lifetime!

Our sharks in the GOT are no exception; they often loose their teeth, and we will find them around the tank. Here are a few pictures of some of our trophy teeth.

Even though it may look quite scary it is important that the sharks have so many rows of teeth, if they lost most of their teeth they wouldn't be able to feed which is very problematic since they don't make dentures for sharks.

- Andrea


1 comment:

  1. It is awesome that they changes their teeth every two weeks or so. They definitely doesn't need to have a dental visit for their teeth.


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