HomeNewsScienceSand Tiger Sharks: The Farting Masters of the Ocean

    Sand Tiger Sharks: The Farting Masters of the Ocean

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    Sharks are fascinating creatures that have been around for millions of years. They have adapted to various environments and developed unique behaviors and abilities. One of these abilities is farting. Yes, you read that right. Some sharks can fart, but not all of them. In fact, only one species of shark is known to fart: the sand tiger shark.

    Sand tiger sharks are large sharks that can grow up to 3.2 meters (10.5 feet) long. They have a distinctive appearance with a bulky body, a flattened snout, and protruding teeth. They are also known as grey nurse sharks or ragged-tooth sharks. Despite their fearsome look, they are not aggressive to humans unless provoked or threatened.

    scary shark opening mouth in water
    Photo by Mile Ribeiro on

    Sand tiger sharks have a special way of controlling their buoyancy. Buoyancy is the force that makes an object float or sink in water. Most sharks rely on their oily liver to keep them buoyant, but sand tiger sharks have another trick up their sleeve. They gulp air from the surface and store it in their stomachs. This allows them to float without swimming and hover motionless above the seafloor as they scan for prey.

    But what goes in must come out. When sand tiger sharks want to sink deeper, they release the air through their cloaca, which is an opening at the end of their digestive tract. This results in a loud and squelchy fart that can be heard by divers nearby. But that’s not all. The fart is also green.

    photograph of blue and green ink underwater
    Photo by MART PRODUCTION on

    Why is the fart green? Well, it has to do with what sand tiger sharks eat and how they digest it. Their diet consists mainly of bony fish, which have a lot of hemoglobin in their blood. Hemoglobin is a protein that carries oxygen and gives blood its red color. Hemoglobin contains iron, which reacts with bile salts in the shark’s digestive system to produce a green pigment.

    The green pigment mixes with the air and other gases in the shark’s stomach and forms a bright green cloud that can be seen for several feet when the shark farts. The green color also helps the shark camouflage itself in the murky water and avoid predators.

    Sand tiger sharks use their farts not only for buoyancy control, but also for hunting and hiding. By releasing gas, they can quickly change their depth and surprise their prey. They can also use their farts to mask their scent from predators like great white sharks or orcas.

    Sand tiger sharks are amazing animals that have a unique adaptation to survive in their environment. They are also vulnerable to extinction and face threats from fishing, habitat loss and pollution. They need our protection and respect, even if they fart green.

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