SHARK WEEK!

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It’s that magical time of year again, guys! ❤ SHARK WEEK!

It’s no secret around here that I friggin’ LOVE sharks. I love marine life in general, but sharks always take the cake for me. Needless to say, this week it’s all about sharks on my blog. 🙂 Even at work, I’ve planned my weekly activities with our finned friends in mind. I’ll have my group doing shark arts and crafts, doing cool mini-lessons about them, and making shark-themed snacks and desserts for cooking! I can’t wait! A few of my awesome participants love sharks as much as I do so I can’t wait to see what they think of the activities I have planned. 😀

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Sorry in advance to the parents who will have to hear about sharks ALL.WEEK.LONG. from the participants on my team. Haha #sorrynotsorry

Do you tune into Shark Week each year? What are you looking forward to seeing? I personally would be thrilled to see more love for the sharks that aren’t great whites. Great whites are awesome too, but there are SO MANY amazing and fascinating types of sharks out there that they could cover. Gimme those whale sharks, your Greenland sharks, threshers, goblin sharks, gimme ALL the sharks! I get that great whites are what the average person thinks of when they picture sharks, but all the more reason to mix it up a little. 😉

So, what can you expect to see around here this week? More shark doodles from yours truly, updates about what shark projects we’re doing at my work this week, a special spotlight post on a great artist with a mission, and more! I hope you guys enjoy the posts and have a JAWSOME Shark Week! ❤

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Goblin Shark Facts

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One of my favorite things about sharks is simply how many different kinds there are, and how vastly unique one species can be from another. One of the first sharks to come to mind when I think about “weird sharks” would have to be none other than the goblin shark. I’ve enjoyed learning what little snippets I could about these elusive buggers for some time now, so I was looking forward to having this excuse to research them some more. So, that said, let’s get into the fun and talk about these interesting sharks!

Despite their ghoulish name (and appearance), Goblin sharks are of the “pretty in pink” variety, ranging in color schemes from a lighter greyish pink to a strikingly vibrant dark pink as they get older. Their unique color is due to their skin being ghostly translucent due to lack of pigment, so the pink you’re seeing is actually from the shark’s blood vessels showing just beneath the skin.

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If you think the goblin shark looks frightful at a glance, you should see it in action when its hungry! Utilizing a feeding method known as “slingshot feeding”, the goblin shark launches its whole friggin’ mouth forward to snatch up prey in what I can only compare to the chestburster scene in the movie Alien.

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Similarly to great white sharks, goblin sharks do not do well in captivity, and the few times they have been kept in aquariums they have died shortly after arrival. 😦 This, combined with the rarity of sightings of living specimens, makes them pretty mysterious to scientists.

Despite being rarely seen by humans, goblin sharks are found in oceanic waters all around the world, but most sightings and captures have occurred off the coasts of Japan, making it little surprise that the very first specimen was discovered there in 1898. (Imagine being the first person to find such an unusual-looking shark!)

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Greenland Shark Facts Because “SHARK WEEK!”

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Greenland sharks are seriously interesting sharks, so I was really looking forward to doing the Info portion of this post. 🙂 I had also intended to include an illustration like I did for my recent Whale Shark Post, but 1.) Greenland sharks are kind of wonky to try to draw/color (at least for me) and 2.) My access to scanners is much more limited at the moment than I had anticipated. So thank you google images! Phew! Excuses aside, onto the info:

Greenland sharks are part of the family of sharks known as Somniosidae, more commonly known as “sleeper sharks”. As the name would imply, this group of sharks are the more mellow of the bunch, swimming at lower speeds and just being pretty “chill” in general. The Greenland shark specifically is known to be the world’s slowest shark, not even reaching 1 mile per hour.

Other names for the Greenland shark include: the “gurry shark”, “grey shark”, and “eqalussuaq“.

These guys get old. Like, realllly old. Being the longest-living of all vertebrate species, these big guys are estimated to be capable of living for anywhere between 200 to even 500 years!

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Many people tend to only think of sharks living in warmer waters, but Greenland sharks prefer the cold. In fact, they can be found thriving in Arctic and sub-Arctic waters year round, making the waters around Greenland, Iceland, and Canada their home.

Comparable in size with the Great White, these predators have never been recorded to attack humans. They sustain themselves by hunting and scavenging, and have been found with some interesting things in their stomachs when caught. (One particular Greenland shark on record was even found with the body of an entire reindeer in its stomach!) Due to their slow speed, scientists were surprised that these guys were able to prey on living seals which can travel so much faster . . . until they discovered that Greenland sharks were nomming on the speedy little guys while they were sleeping under water.

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Due to the depths these guys like to hang out in, their tissue is loaded with a potent neurotoxin (trimethylamine oxide) making their meat toxic. Despite this, they are still hunted for food, and through a lengthy and longstanding process involving fermentation and curing of the meat, they are not only eaten, but even considered a delicacy in Iceland.

There are loads of other awesome things to learn about these sharks whether it comes to them themselves or the mythology that surrounds them. Seriously, if you’re looking for an interesting shark to research, look no further than the Greenland shark. They may not be much to look at to most, but they truly are fascinating. 🙂

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Whale Shark Drawing/Facts

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Drawing by IgnitedMoth (aka: ME!) 😉

My favorite shark of all is none other than the whale shark, so of course I had to do a Shark Week post about these docile behemoths. 🙂

As their name would imply, these magnificent creatures are HUGE. On average, a mature whale shark is estimated to reach lengths of 32 feet, and to weigh in at a massive average of 20,000 pounds! (Even larger specimens than that have been recorded, though, believe it or not.) It’s no surprise that they are the largest fish in the world.

Don’t let their massive size intimidate you though, because these sharks are the gentle giants of the ocean. They’re actually filter feeders who use their giant gaping mouths to dine on plankton and some small fish and other itty bitty sea critters.

Much like how two tigers never have the same stripes, no two whale sharks have the same spot/stripe pattern.

Whale sharks have some BIG mouths. (All the better to nom on all that tasty plankton with!) A mature whale shark’s mouth is about five feet wide on average and is home to over 300 teeth. (Again, no worries about them coming up to divers for a little nibble. They’re basically giant cinnamon rolls just floating around doing their thing.) Fun Fact, though: These guys will use their giant mouths to suck out a free meal from the full nets of fishermen. I personally find this hilarious. Way to stick it to the man, whale sharks!

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All in all, whale sharks rock and are to be respected for the mellow and distinguished sharks they are.

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Happy Shark Week!

Woo! My favorite week for television is upon us: SHARK WEEK! 😀 I don’t watch a whole lot of TV, but when Shark Week is on, Discovery Channel reigns supreme in my home. I love sharks (and marine life in general) so an entire week of non-stop specials about sharks is always a big plus in my book. 😉 Let the binge-watching begin!

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In honor of Shark Week, I will be posting multiple shark-related posts throughout the week that I’ve been putting together. You can count on there being a couple new drawings and plenty of snazzy shark facts I thought you guys might find interesting. I’ve got several posts that shine a light on some of my favorite types of sharks. 🙂 Hopefully you will enjoy reading the posts as much as I’ve been enjoying creating them. ❤

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So, how about you? Are any of you fine folks planning to partake in the “Jawsome” glory that is Shark Week? Any particular sharks you’re hoping to see and/or learn more about from this year’s specials? Ever seen or encountered a shark in real life?? Let’s talk SHARKS!! 😀

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Aaaaand on a related note, I’m still attempting to catch up on reading other blogs after my recent absence. There’s so much to catch up on and I look forward to seeing what everyone has been up to. 🙂 It’s amazing how fast you can get behind and how long it takes to try to catch up. Wish me luck! 😉

 

Wands for Wildlife!

This might seem like a Harry Potter related post from the title, but the wildlife we’re talking about doesn’t consist of hippogriffs or basilisks. And, chances are, we’re thinking about a different sort of wand entirely.

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Wands for Wildlife is a movement calling for a very particular type of donation: old mascara wands. Yup, you read that right. Here’s a video from Appalachian Wildlife Refuge that sheds some more light on why in the world someone might want you to mail them your old mascara wands:

Who’d have thought something you’re supposed to toss in the garbage every few months could actually wind up helping little baby animals? I think this idea is awesome, and I’m really glad that so many people are already contributing.

Appalachian Wildlife Refuge is a nonprofit that deals with wildlife rehabilitation in North Carolina. They care for orphaned and injured wildlife and educate people on conservation, among other things of that nature. (No pun intended.)

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Since their request went viral people are hosting what is called “wandraising” parties in order to collect wands from their friends to send out to the refuge. They just ask that all wands be cleaned with soap and water before being mailed out. If this is something you’re interested in, you can print up a mail form and get the address to mail out mascara wands and donations to by clicking here!