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How many teeth does a shark have?

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When you picture a swimming shark, what music goes through your head? Is it the low, intense "doodoot-doodoot" from the movie Jaws? Or the catchy, lighthearted "doot, doot, duhdoot, duhdoo" of Baby Shark? This week we answer two questions about sharks, and these songs provide a great soundtrack!

A TPL Kids visitor wondered "Why do sharks eat people?" which leads us to a follow-up question: "Are people a common part of a shark's meal plan?" According to the Britannica Library, a shark's usual diet consists of plankton, shellfish, sea turtles, fishes, seals, porpoises, squids and even whales. Humans are not on the menu!

However, since sharks use their keen sense of smell to hunt for food, a person or other animals may become food. Gulp! The smell of blood from an injured surfer or swimmer could cause an excited shark to go into a feeding frenzy and bite someone. But in reality, only a few species of sharks are known to attack humans.

The second wonder is a question about how many teeth a shark has. The number varies from one type of shark to another. A whale shark, for example, has about 3000 small, pointed teeth set in more than 300 rows. A great white shark can have only 50 teeth, not counting the ones its body might be growing to replace any that fall out. A fun shark fact from Britannica Library: "Sharks are always losing and replacing teeth. Some sharks grow thousands of teeth in their lives." Wow! That's a lot of brushing!

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