Happy Shark Week everyone! This is the time of year where we admire sharks and how awesome they are. Sharks have an arrangement of really cool "powers" that enable them to become the kings of the ocean. Some of these powers are so powerful and awesome that they could technically be considered superpowers. In honor of Shark Week, let's look at some of the coolest shark abilities that superheroes wish they had.
Swimming While Asleep
Up first is a "superpower" that seems very unusual: sleepwalking. Some people may think that sharks don't need sleep at all and are able to do what they do without having to rest. However, that is a common myth as sharks need sleep — like most living things do. There are different ways sharks sleep, depending on the type of shark.
Some sharks, like blue sharks and makos, must keep in constant motion while they sleep. Sharks need to take in oxygen just like human beings do. Obviously, they are not breathing in air. This is the main function of gills on sharks and many other aquatic creatures: To take in oxygenated water into the body. These types of sharks need moving water — which contains oxygen — running over their bodies at all times, even while they are sleeping.
Other kinds of sharks do not have to keep in constant motion while sleeping, but are able to sleep on the ocean floor. Sharks don't have eyelids, so no matter how they're sleeping, they always seem to be awake. It's creepy, to be honest.
Sensitivity to Electrical Fields
At first, this doesn't sound like a superpower at all. In fact, usually the word "sensitive" links to a weakness, like Superman to Kryptonite. However, sharks sensitivity to electricity actually enhances their abilities. Sharks can sense electricity from miles away. Sharks are so sensitive to electricity, in fact, that they can detect it better than some human-built machines. Being able to pick up electricity is called electroreception; it's basically a shark's sixth sense.
Electroreception can be used in many different ways, but sharks primarily use it as an advantage in hunting down prey. Of course, a shark can use its other senses (sight, smell, etc.) but electroreception can work even when all the other senses fail.
All living creatures give off a slight electromagnetic field, some stronger than others. This electric field is created when an animal contracts a muscle. Any living creature with muscles gives off a slight electric pulse, but it's amplified in water because the ocean is an awesome conductor as it's filled with sodium and chlorine ions. Therefore, sharks are able to figure out where fish are located just by using electroreception. It doesn't hurt that fish give off a stronger electromagnetic field than most living creatures.
Sharks are able to use electroreception thanks to the sensing organs located in their noses called ampullae of Lorenzini (see picture above). Ampullae of Lorenzini are an interconnection of jelly-filled pores. They are so strong that they can pick up even the weakest of electromagnetic fields.
Having the sense of electroreception would be cool if you lived underwater like Aquaman or Namor the Sub-Mariner. However, if you are on land, the superpower of electroreception would be useless, considering air is a horrible conductor.
Sharks are one of the fastest sea creatures in existence. Scientists have speculated that sharks can reach a maximum speed of 60 miles per hour. Obviously, this is in very short intervals, usually when they attacking their prey.
Over an extended period of time, sharks such as great whites and makos can average up to 30 miles per hour. Sharks are definitely not the Flash, but are still lightning quick compared to some other beasts of the sea.