Little known shark eats polar bears and reindeer

One uuugly dude…


Little-known shark eats polar bears and reindeer

Divers recently dared to swim alongside this apex predator, which lives farther north than any other shark species and can grow larger than a great white.

By Bryan NelsonWed, Dec 14 2011 at 7:58 PM EST

GREENLAND SHARK: This apex predator has toxic skin and has been found with polar bears in its stomach. (Photo: Zuma Press)
Imagine a shark that grows larger than a great white, has toxic, urine-soaked flesh, and which dines on polar bears and reindeer.

No, this isn’t the latest Hollywood attempt to ramp up the Jaws franchise. Meet the Greenland shark: perhaps one of the world’s least known apex marine predators.

Daredevil diver Doug Perrine recently had the audacity to get up close and personal with one of these elusive killers, according to the Daily Mail. Though the water was murky and cold, Perrine took some solace in the fact that these sharks are not known to attack humans.

“The sharks were able to satisfy their curiosity about me by approaching to the limit of visibility at about six meters distance,” said Perrine. “The sharks are known to prey on large seals but I never felt threatened.”

“They have an almost goofy, comical appearance,” he added, referring to the animal’s toothy grin– an expression that seems etched in stone upon their faces.

The Greenland shark is native to the waters of the North Atlantic Ocean, living farther north than any other shark species. Perhaps the lack of competition is what drives them to feast on such a vast array of Arctic prey, a menu which typically includes fish and marine mammals, but which has also been known to include polar bears and even reindeer. (A fact which almost certainly lands them on Santa’s ‘naughty list’.)

One of the shark’s other unusual attributes includes its poisonous, urea-laced flesh, which makes the animal hazardous to eat. Interestingly, the toxic content of its flesh comes not from the urea, but rather from the presence of trimethylamine oxide, a toxin that can produce symptoms similar to drunkenness when consumed. Even so, local Inuits have learned to make the flesh palatable by boiling it, or by fermenting it for some months.

The shark is also known to live for as long as 200 years…

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