Sharks are the dominant predators in the ocean, but that does not mean they don’t have enemies.
Many species of animals eat sharks if given the opportunity; some examples include:
- Killer whales
- Large fish like tuna and marlins
- Seals and sea lions
The list goes on and on.
Though sharks are generally not in danger of extinction, some fishermen hunt and cut off their dorsal fins to make shark fin soup.
If sharks were to die out, it would be a disaster for marine life.
Sharks keep other fish populations in check; thus, if all the large predators like sharks were gone, there would be too many fish or smaller sharks that would lack the predatory skills to hunt efficiently.
What eats sharks?
Though sharks are known for their ferocity, they do not have many predators in the ocean.
Even larger species of shark-like the Great White Shark are preyed on by other creatures in the sea.
Humans also threaten sharks by fishing for them and finning, which has led the Great White Shark population to be significantly reduced in recent years.
This massive creature can grow up to 50 feet long and weigh 25,000 pounds. Since it feeds on plankton and other small sea creatures by filtering them through its gills, no other ocean creature dares to mess with it.
Even Orcas are known to hunt the Great White Shark, though this powerful creature has been known to sometimes fight back against their attackers.
Some scientists postulate that other predatory creatures might find sharks tasty, but there is no evidence of any creature actually preying on these fish in nature.
However, despite these threats, sharks are still one of the most dominant creatures in the sea.
Besides these exceptions, sharks are at the top of the food chain.
What eats shark eggs?
Though many creatures can prey on a baby shark, few can prey upon its eggs.
This is primarily because sharks lay their eggs in private, often burying them under the seafloor.
In one instance, a Snapping Turtle was observed eating several shark eggs though it failed at this endeavor.
Other animals have been known to consume Shark eggs, including seals and whales. Monkeys are also reported as consuming them at times!
What eats shark meat?
Shark meat can be appealing to many different sea creatures since it contains high levels of protein and fat without much in the way of carbohydrates.
Though fish are primarily what sharks eat, some fish eat these creatures occasionally. Pike, for example, are known to be opportunistic feeders and will not pass up a chance to eat one of these creatures if they can help it.
When it comes to predators that can prey upon shark meat, though, the list is relatively small. The most notable are:
- The Great White Shark: Can prey upon smaller sharks when they find them sleeping.
- Orcas: Often prey on juvenile sharks until they can hunt large species of this fish. They may even prey upon the adult version of the shark too.
- Killer Whale: Have been known to prey upon adults of the species.
- The Manta Ray: This fish is often the only threat to unborn sharks since they eat amniotic fluid and umbilical cords.
Though few creatures prey on shark meat, those prefer young and small sharks. They do not like eating adults since they are more extensive and difficult to attack.
Why don’t other animals eat the shark’s liver?
The primary reason why no creature eats the liver of a shark is that it does not taste good.
Many creatures will only eat organs if there is nothing else around, but most avoid this food source even if it is the only thing they can find.
On occasion, even creatures known to prey upon sharks will generally not eat their livers unless they are hungry or trying to make room for more food.
A shark’s liver has a sour taste and smell, making it unappealing to most predators, though its benefits as an oil reserve are challenging to pass up.
Are sharks toxic to eat?
Though sharks are not toxic to eat, they do have high levels of mercury.
Mercury is a heavy metal known as a toxin, and it has been shown to cause severe brain and neurological damage over time.
Since sharks usually live longer than other fish and accumulate mercury as they age, their meat can be dangerous if eaten in excess.
Though some creatures hunt sharks for food, most avoid them since they are difficult to maneuver and attack.
What shark meat is poisonous to humans?
The Greenland shark has the highest urea concentration (a toxic substance found in urine) in its meat. This increases the potential for poisoning those who consume it, but the adverse effects are not likely to be any more severe than vomiting and diarrhea.
Many sharks have evolved without having predators themselves. They often produce highly effective chemical defenses against their own predators, poisonous to humans.
What shark meat is edible?
Shark meat is edible and can be used in soups, steaks, and sandwiches. It is high in protein and low in fat and is considered a delicacy worldwide.
There are many different types of sharks, but the only species considered suitable for eating include blue, mako, sandbar, and thresher.
The meat from a blue shark is described as being fine-textured and flaky with a mild flavor, either alone or in seafood soups and stews. Shark steaks can be broiled successfully, although they have been called “the poor man’s lobster.” Sharks caught for sport are usually released; however, their meat is still edible.
The meat of the thresher shark is prized for its high quality. The species are well documented, being heavily fished in some areas and having suffered population collapses due to overfishing throughout most of their range.
The meat from a mako shark can be used as sushi or sashimi, but it is more prevalent in stews and soups. The meat of a mako shark is also used for steaks, fillets, jerky and is often marketed under the name “swordfish.”
The meat from a sandbar shark can be eaten, but it must be cooked thoroughly because of its high urea content, which can cause toxicity when consumed raw.