SHARK attacks have been on the rise in the past few years thanks to a long list of environmental factors.

But are sharks fish? And what do they eat? Here's all you need to know…

Is a shark a fish?

Yes, sharks are fish.

They live in water and use their gills to breathe by filtering oxygen like other fish.

However, they are different from most species of fish their body is made out of cartilage instead of bones like other fish.

How many bones does a shark have?

Sharks do not have bones. 

They are a special type of fish known as "elasmobranchs.

This means they are made of cartilaginous tissue.

In humans, this is the stuff that our ears and nose tip are made of.

What you need to know about sharks

Are there great white sharks in the UK?

Which sharks are in UK waters?

What are the world's most dangerous sharks?

Is a shark a fish?

Do sharks have bones?

Are sharks mammals?

Sharks are not mammals – they are classified as fish.

This is because they don’t feed their young with milk.

Mammals are known as mammals because they use their mammary glands to feed their young.

Do sharks sleep? 

Sharks do sleep – but not like humans do.

Instead, they have active and restful periods.

What do sharks eat?

Sharks are opportunistic feeders – this means they eat what is accessible to them.

However, most sharks primarily feed on smaller fish and invertebrates. 

Some of the larger shark species prey on seals, sea lions, and other marine mammals.

But experts have warned the number of attacks on humans will rise thanks to environmental initiatives to protect seals – a key part of a shark's diet.

Shark attacks are very rare but marine biologists say swimmers should still avoid wearing dark clothing and should not swim alone.

Do sharks lay eggs?

Only a few sharks – like cat sharks – lay eggs. 

A lot more sharks give birth to live baby sharks, called pups. 

Mako sharks and blue sharks are examples of sharks that are born alive. 

Some sharks are known to have a litter of up to 20 pups at a time.

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How long do sharks live? 

In the wild sharks are known to live anywhere from 20 to 30 years.

Sharks are also far more under threat from humans than vice versa and every year millions are killed for sport.

And nearly one in five shark species is said to be endangered or vulnerable.

How many species of shark are there? 

In 2021 there are about 400 species of sharks. 

Roughly 40 different species have been spotted in the UK in the last 100 years.

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