It’s that time of year again! Discovery Channel's Shark Week!
Considered one of the deadliest predators in the ocean (mostly because of the great white, affectionately nicknamed "the white death"), sharks have fascinated recent generations with their fierce predatory nature and sly cunningness. They've inspired legends and fear thanks to real-life incidents such as the Jersey Shore shark attacks of 1916 and petrifying such as the classic thriller Jaws.
Yet, despite all this fear-mongering, sharks are one of the most diverse species of the sea, with over 500 varieties including nurse sharks, crocodile sharks, lemon sharks, bull sharks, leopard sharks, pygmy sharks, angel sharks, carpet sharks, lantern sharks and, yes, even a cookie-cutter shark. Their range in size is just as dramatic, from the dogfish at only 3 feet to the whale shark at an immense 35 feet.
Want to learn more shark facts, or would you like to delve into a legend of shark terror? Check out these suggestions.
In The Secret Life of Sharks, a marine biologist shares the insight he has gained from nearly 30 years of studying shark behavior. His inspiring personal account is filled with humor and wisdom as he encourages others to realize the significant role sharks fill in our ecosystem.
In Demon Fish: Travels Through the Hidden World of Sharks, you'll go on a real-life adventure across the globe into the lives of the ocean's top predator to discover the reason for humans' fascination with the animal.
Interested in learning more about the real-life shark attacks that inspired Jaws? In Close to Shore: A True Story of Terror in An Age of Innocence, historian Mike Capuzzo recounts the season of terror that unfolded when five shark attacks happened in less than two weeks along the coast of New Jersey.
Surviving the Shark: How A Brutal Great White Attack Turned A Surfer Into A Dedicated Defender of Sharks is the harrowing yet inspirational story of a shark attack survivor. Jonathan Kathrein recounts his amazing journey from attack to rehabilitation, from surfer to shark advocate.
The Devil's Teeth: A True Story of Survival and Obsession Among America's Great White Sharks explores the lives of the great white sharks of the Farallon Islands (27 miles from San Francisco) and the researchers devoted to studying them. The author is a journalist, not a scientist, and this results in a lighter take on the biology and behavior of sharks that is still filled with great facts and insights.
Rather sink your teeth into some fictional legends and lore? Check out these books and movies.