Halloween Shark Facts
Updated: Oct 20, 2022
Ghost, Goblin, Viper, Frilled and Cat Sharks
We try our best to make sharks as least scary as possible so that people can be inspired and fascinated by them and not irrationally terrified, however we do have to acknowledge that some of them are just plain strange – and what better a time to delve into those oddities than Halloween! So dive into our Halloween Shark Facts below, a list of some of the spookiest and creepiest facts about sharks and their relatives, including bonus facts never before shared by Shark Guardian!
Ghost Sharks (not actually a shark, but a Chimaera) also known as a Spookfish
A Chimaera in Greek mythology is a monstrous fire-breathing hybrid creature composed of the parts of many animals.
Their ‘dead eyes’ are just like a zombie! This is because they live in waters of between 400 and 2000 meters deep which means light no longer penetrates - the use of eyes are pretty limited when you can’t see.
They have been lurking around in the depths since before dinosaurs and yet we know almost nothing about them. What else could be lurking down there?!
The pointy-nosed blue chimaera (Hydrolagus trolli), a type of ghost fish, looks just like Frankenstein with a ‘stitched together/patchwork’ snout. Scientists hypothesize that they serve a sensory purpose rather than a scary one.
They have non-replaceable tooth plates composed of dense minerals, and an upper jaw that is fused to their skull used to grind their prey into a pulp before swallowing.
Rhinochimaeridae (long-nosed chimaera) have venomous spines used in for defense – this runs down the length of their meter-long body! Can you imagine that a meter-long venomous spine?!
They’re actually a type of dog fish shark belonging to the poorly studied species Trigonognathus kabeyai.
Did we mention they can shoot their entire jaw forward to catch their prey…
They live in the inky dark depths of around 300-400 meters and swim closer to the surface at night to catch their prey.
The prey which, like a snake, they launch themselves forward and swallow whole!
Japanese call it ‘Tengu-zame’ which roughly translates to ‘Goblin Shark’ hence the name, but did you know that ‘zame’ means shark? What does ‘Tengu’ mean I hear you ask? Oh, it’s just the name of an evil demon with a giant red head and nose.
They can grow to 4 meters in length.
Its method of feeding is referred to as ‘slingshot feeding’ whereby it fires only its jaw and teeth towards its prey in a catapult motion. How far? Well, if a human mouth was capable of moving like that, you could bite into a piece of food dangling 7 inches in front of your nose.
The goblin shark is a total loner as it is the only living member of its family.
Goblin sharks have translucent skin that lacks pigment – when seen alive they are a light pink/dusky purple colour due to the pigments in their blood and circulatory system showing through!
BONUS FACT! 2017's Alien: Covenant team looked to the goblin shark for inspiration when designing the movie's white-skinned “neomorph,” which had a set of protruding jaws it used to take out a traveller halfway through the movie.
It’s glow in the dark! There is no light in the inky depths where they live so they have evolved to create a protein in their bodies which reflects moonlight.
They live in caves or kelp forests.
They can go into stealth mode - using camouflage to sneak up on their prey.
They’re the largest shark family with 160 different species! So if you pick on 1, you’ve got 159 relatives to deal with!
One of these species is the Swell Shark, which swallows air or water to make itself look bigger and scare off predators (or float around like a ghastly ghoul!).
It is a prehistoric and eel-like shark.
They’re elusive and rarely seen by humans.
They’re known as the living fossil because they’ve changed so little since their prehistoric origins.
They were originally described in 1884 as a “serpent-like monster of the ocean”.
Each shark has 300 teeth, and they’re terrifying! They’re also backwards facing so the only way to escape their clutch is to go deeper into its cavernous mouth.
They have a literal saw of teeth! They use their 'saw' to impale their prey. Fast movement of the snout from side to side slashes the prey into manageable bite size chunks.
They have 25-45 serrated teeth on either side of their ‘saw’.
Written by Harriet Moore