Sharks are some of the most fascinating creatures on the planet. There are hundreds of amazing things to learn about their habits, their history and shark attacks -- many things that you might not even know. Here are some interesting animal facts for kids who love to learn about the world's greatest predators:
1. Most sharks don't even have teeth! The basking shark and the whale shark don't have teeth, and typically eat small floating animals called plankton. Sharks that do have teeth eat small marine mammals such as sea lions, penguins and fish.
2. Most shark attacks occur off the coast of South Africa and Australia. Nobody knows why, but more sharks attack men than women.
3. Shark cartilage is being tested for use as an anticancer drug. Researchers and scientists are currently conducting a variety of tests and trials to find out what health benefits shark cartilage may have for generations to come.
4. Contrary to what you might have seen in the movies or on television, more than 90 percent of people who are attacked by sharks survive.
5. Sharks can hold a meal in their stomachs for months without it being digested. This is an important survival mechanism for sharks that swim in waters with little prey.
6. The whale shark is the largest shark species and is almost as big as a school bus; the dwarf shark is the smallest shark species and is as small as your hand.
7. Unlike the cartoon sharks you see on television, not all sharks are gray in color. Whale sharks are actually a dark reddish brown in color with a crisscross pattern.
8. Almost all sharks sink if they don't keep swimming. Their bodies are heavier than water and they don't have a swim bladder to keep them buoyant, so they have to keep swimming to stay afloat -- just like humans. Only the Zambezi shark has the ability to float; it lives in fresh water.
9. Sharks have been around since the days of the dinosaurs; experts say they've been swimming the oceans for more than 409 million years. Sharks have evolved in many ways, but their hunting instincts have become even sharper over the centuries.
10. Mother sharks don't provide food for their young. Young sharks have to fend for themselves, using their instincts to hunt down prey.
Stuck indoors over summer break? Learning some fun facts about science, nature and the world's great animals is a great way to spend a rainy day indoors, or to enjoy some quality time together. Plan to share some of these fun animal facts for kids who are intrigued by sharks and other sea creatures.