Five Myths About Sharks, Busted JUST in Time for Shark Week

Vancouver, B.C. – Just in time for Shark Week (July 28-Aug. 4), we have the real facts in answer to myths and misconceptions about the ocean’s most feared predators. Saluting the biggest week on TV, Vancouver Aquarium is inviting visitors to get up close with these fierce, yet fascinating, animals all week long. Learn all about the many species of sharks and their role in the ocean – and how we can protect them.

Myth 1: Sharks can smell one drop of blood in the entire ocean.

Truth: While it’s true that sharks can smell better than you can, and some can even smell one drop of blood per one million parts of water, oceans are quite a bit bigger than that. Still, a shark’s nostrils aren’t used for breathing, they’re reserved for smelling. Maybe that’s why the lemon shark can smell tuna oil at one part per 25 million, which is not great news for anxious tuna.

Myth 2: Sharks have no predators.

Truth: Killer whales, sea lions, seals, lamprey and Australian saltwater crocodiles have all been known to prey on sharks. But the shark’s most ruthless and effective predator is the human being. According to a report compiled by researchers at Dalhousie University in 2013, we humans kill about 100 million sharks every year.

Myth 3: A shark has six senses.

Truth: Nope. A shark has seven senses: Vision, smell, taste, electrosense, hearing, touch and pressure sensors. Electrosense is the shark’s ability to sense electrical fields in other creatures through its Lorenzini ampoules.  Meanwhile, pressure sensors are found in the shark’s lateral line, extending from its head to its caudal fin, and in its pit organs, oversized denticles covering small pockets in the skin.

Myth 4: All sharks are dangerous.

Fact: Depending on your source, shark species number from 375 to more than 500. Only about a dozen of them are considered dangerous to humans. The most feared are the great white, the tiger and the bull. The least feared is probably the dwarf lanternshark, whose largest known length is 20 cm (7.9 in). That’s about as big as a Eurowiener.

Myth 5: All sharks must swim constantly.

Truth: While some sharks do need to swim continuously in order to pass water over their gills and breathe, others can rest on the sea floor while their pharynx does the pumping. Still, your chances of bumping into a shark that resembles a couch potato is shark-slim to none.


Shark Week is an annual, week-long TV programming block at the Discovery Channel, which features shark-based programming. It premiered on July 17, 1988, and was originally devoted to conservation efforts and correcting misconceptions about sharks. It’s now featured annually, in July and early August. Since 2010, it has been the longest-running cable television programming event in history, and is broadcast in more than 72 countries.

Shark Week at VA


With replenishable teeth, seven senses, and unparalleled survival skills, sharks are the ultimate aquatic predator. Get up close with these fierce, yet fascinating, animals until Aug. 4, and learn about the many species of sharks and their role in the ocean – and how we can protect them.


  • Learn what’s fact and what’s fiction when it comes to these jaw-some creatures. Every day throughout the week, our experts will be speaking about all things shark. Are all sharks dangerous? Are shark attacks increasing? Do sharks have predators? Now’s your chance to find out.
  • Ever wanted to see a shark chow-down? Witness a shark feed, every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. in our Tropics Gallery.
  • Your very own baby sharks will love the daily shark-themed puppet show.
  • Keep Shark Week going all year long by taking home a shark stuffie, t-shirt or mug from our giftshop. You can even symbolically adopt a shark by picking up a Shark Aquadopt Kit – which supports the care and feeding of the animals at the Vancouver Aquarium, as well as Ocean Wise’s conservation, research and education initiatives.

This summer the Vancouver Aquarium has extended its opening hours and is now open from 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily. For more information, visit

Date: July 28 – August 4

Time: 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily

Where: Vancouver Aquarium in Stanley Park (845 Avison Way)

Cost: Adult: $38 | Senior / Student: $30 | Child (4 – 12): $21 | Child (0 – 4): $0

For more information and to purchase tickets:

Contact Information: Vancouver Aquarium at 604-659-3400

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Vancouver Aquarium
Vancouver Aquarium, an Ocean Wise initiative, is one of the world’s leading accredited aquariums, dedicated to the conservation of aquatic life.


Social Media: @VanAqua | #VanAqua

Media Contact: Helena McShane | Ocean Wise | [email protected] | 604.700.2863

Media Contact

Helena McShane
Vancouver Aquarium