Shark Week Frenzy

Thinking of ways to decorate and accessorize in honor of Shark Week 2011! What better way to brainstorm decor ideas and learn about sharks thanks to the Discovery Channel's Shark Week Top 100 Shark Facts :)
Sharks living in frigid waters can heat their eyes using a special organ next to a muscle in their eye socket. This ability enables them to keep hunting their prey in extreme temperatures.

Almost 50 different species of sharks have light-emitting organs called photospheres. Sharks use the light that comes from these organs for camouflage and to attract mates.

It's a shark-eat-shark world ... sometimes even before the sharks are born. When some species' embryos begin to develop teeth, they eat their unborn brothers and sisters until one shark remains, an act known as intrauterine cannibalism.

A shark's tooth-shaped scales, called denticles, allow it to move swiftly through the water without collecting barnacles and algae deposits on the skin. In 2005, engineers successfully mimicked the pattern of scales, creating a bacteria-resistant coating.

One of the worst shark attacks in history was the sinking of the USS Indianapolis during World War II. Nearly 900 sailors were stranded in the Philippine Sea near Guam for four days. Experts can't be sure how many sailors lost their lives to sharks, but when help arrived, only 316 people were still alive.

The average shark lives to be 25 years old, but some can get as old as 100! They live so long because their chances of contracting a disease are low. Their skeleton is made up entirely of cartilage, which drastically lowers the likelihood of developing a tumor and strengthens their immunity.

Sharks are especially susceptible to the moon's control of ocean tides. The phase of the moon can affect sharks' eating habits and draw them closer to shore ... which in turn, can lead to increased attacks on humans.

Researchers have discovered common objects, like tires, gasoline tanks and license plates, left in one piece inside the stomachs of tiger sharks.

If the whale shark is the largest species, then pygmy sharks are among the tiniest! They measure an average of 8 inches (20 centimeters) in length and the can make their own light, a phenomenon that's especially helpful as pygmy sharks will dive more than a mile underwater to hunt.

Not all sharks are easily identifiable as predators, especially the cookiecutter shark, which can camouflage itself. The shark's underside glows, with the exception of a small strip on its neck that looks like a much smaller fish. Predators mistake this strip for a snack, and the cookiecutter takes a bite of their flesh before swimming away.

Sharks can use heartbeats to track their prey. Sharks have nodules on their noses about the size of a pimple, called ampullae of Lorenzini. These nodules sense electricity, so the electrical pulses that come from a beating heart can act like a beacon for nearby sharks.

You can't see a shark's ears, but that doesn't stop it from being able to hear you from more than two football fields away. That's because sharks only have inner ears, which they use to track the sound of their prey from lengths of more than 800 feet (244 meters).

If you're watching a circling shark and wondering if it's about to attack its prey, here are the clues: The shark will hunch its back, lower its pectoral fins (the ones near its belly) and swim in zigzag motions.

Unlike humans, whose upper jaw is a fixed part of the skull, a shark can dislocate and protrude its upper jaw to help it grab and hang onto prey. Talk about a big-mouth!

Sharks have an astounding sense of smell, so powerful that they can detect a single drop of blood in an Olympic-sized pool.
 
Different species of sharks have their own set of etiquette during a feeding frenzy, a rare occurrence when a large group of sharks all go after the same prey. Caribbean reef sharks, for example, follow a distinct pecking order in which the biggest shark eats first.

Sharks can see in murky water because of a special feature that makes their eyes more sensitive to light. A membrane in the back of the eye called the tapetum lucidum reflects sunlight back into the eye, so the shark can make more use of what little light is there.

Mile for mile, Volusia County, Fla., has more shark attacks than anywhere else in the world. Because the area boasts so many swimmers, these waters have seen 210 attacks since 1882. Most of the attacks are just bites, though, so they don't keep die-hard surfers and swimmers away.

Great white sharks are picky eaters. Their diet requires lots of fat, and after one bite a great white shark can determine whether or not the meal will satisfy its nutritional needs. If it doesn't, the shark will leave the rest and swim away.
Great White Invasion and Jaws Comes Home were last night's shows, tonight at 9 p.m. on the Discovery Channel is Rogue Sharks and Summer of the Sharks. Click here for more Shark Week info!