• Have you ever seen a great white shark?
Yes. We dove with a 15-foot (4.5 meters) long, female great white shark in South Australia. In The Ocean Adventure program, The Australia Great White Shark Expedition, we show you the great white shark we dove with. We have also worked with baby (called "pups") great white sharks in California. The babies were about a month old and were between three and four feet (0.9 & 1.2 meters) long.
• Have you ever seen a whale shark?
Yes. On many of our expeditions around the world we have come close to seeing whale sharks, but never did. Recently we went on an expedition just to search for whale sharks in Central America. In The Ocean Adventure program, The Belize Whale Shark Expedition, we show you some of the gigantic whale sharks we dove with. You can also see our video podcasts from our expedition by visiting our Internet expedition website.
• Have you ever been bitten by a shark?
Mr. Brown: In California, about 20 years ago, a shark did try to bite me, but it was my fault. I was holding a one foot (30 centimeter) long horn shark for someone taking pictures. I was holding the horn shark for a long time and the shark didn't like that. When I let the horn shark go, it turned around and tried to bite me, but I punched it in the nose and it swam away. Even if the horn had bitten me it would have hurt very much because horn sharks don't have big, sharp teeth. Horn sharks have mostly small, flat grinding teeth for eating crabs with hard shells. In The Ocean Adventure program, The Island of the Blue Dolphins Expedition, we show you some of the horn sharks we have seen.
• Have you ever petted a shark?
Mr. Brown: Yes. We have petted different kinds of sharks underwater all around the world. When you pet a shark their skin feels rough, like sandpaper. The largest shark we have petted was a 15 foot (4 .5 meter) long great white shark. Even though we could have petted the whale sharks we dove with we did not because we did not want to disturb their feeding. I did get to feel the whale shark's skin as one swam close to me and brushed my video camera with its huge tail.
• Do you like sharks?
Yes, because they are fascinating animals and there are still a lot of things scientists don't know about sharks. In most of The Ocean Adventure programs, we show you some of the sharks we have worked with around the world.
• Are you scared of sharks?
We are not scared of sharks. We like to see sharks underwater. The problem is that the sharks usually don't like to see us. The sharks are more scared of us than we are of them. We are as big or bigger than most sharks and we look very strange to them. As we breathe underwater we make big bubbles that make a loud sound. To a shark we look like a big, scary, roaring monster coming to get them. The sharks are scared of us and turn and swim to get away from us. The only way we can get the sharks to hang around with us is to bring them food to eat. Sometimes they are so scared of us even having food will not make them stay around us.
• How big are sharks?
Most sharks are smaller than you are. Of all the different kinds of sharks (over 375 species), 80% grow less than five feet (1.5 meters) long. Of those sharks half of that 80% grow less than 3 feet (1 meter) long. One of the smallest sharks in the world is the pygmy shark. When the pygmy shark is full grown it is less than 9 inches (23 centimeters) long. A few sharks are bigger than you are. The biggest great white shark ever measured was 26 feet (8 meters) long. The largest shark is the whale shark. The whale shark is the biggest fish on our planet. The largest whale shark ever seen was about 60 feet (18 meters) long.
• Why do sharks attack people?
Once in a while a shark may bite someone. Being bitten by any kind of shark is a very rare thing. Most people unlucky enough to be bitten by a great white shark usually survive. Sharks bite because that is how they feel and taste things, by biting them. To find out what something is a shark will bite it. A baby human is like a shark because the baby likes to bite things to feel them with its mouth. Sharks don't go looking for people to eat, but once in a while a shark may bite someone. Being bitten by any kind of shark is a very rare thing. Most people unlucky enough to be bitten by a great white shark usually survive. Sharks usually bite because that is how they feel and taste things, by biting them. To find out what something is a shark will bite it. A baby human is like a shark because the baby likes to bite things to feel them with its mouth. A shark may bite also someone to make that person leave his territory. This is just like a strange dog that might try to bite you if you get into his yard. A shark may also bite someone by mistake if it thinks you are its favorite food, like a seal or a sea lion. When a shark bites someone the shark usually just takes one bite, swims away, and doesn't try to eat that person. More people are killed by being struck by lightning or bee stings or from falling airplane parts, than attacked by a shark. In fact, in the United States more people are killed by farm pigs each year than by sharks! People are more dangerous to sharks than sharks are to people. Each year people kill about 100,000,000 sharks.
Dive into our previous Internet Expeditions to see some of the
sharks we have seen and worked with around the world.