Do Sharks Eat Bones?

Have you ever heard of sharks eating bones, if yes, then why?

Sharks are known for their sharp razor-like teeth having powerful jaws. That allows them to crunch any hard thing they eat. That is why sharks are counted as the most feared apex predators of the ocean means they are at the top of the food chain. But do sharks eat bones?

Yes, sharks can and do eat bones. Recent research has found that sharks have a modified digestive system which helps them digest the bones and extract the nutrients from it to the body.

Sharks have a lot of adaptations for survival. Eating and properly digesting bone is one of the adaptations.

This article is a free guide for you to know whether sharks eat bones or not.  So, let’s discover the secret.

Do sharks eat bones?

Yes, sharks do eat bones. Sharks have very sharp razor-like jaws that can crunch anything into pieces.

why do shark eat human bones

Sharks are even spotted while eating vertebrates like sea turtles including their skeleton and shells. They have hard bones but sharks can easily crash and digest them.

The bones of the prey are the best source of nutrients after digestion including calcium and vitamin D. This helps sharks to maintain a healthy growth and immunity system.

Sharks also feed on small fish which sharks do not need to crunch, but they can get some nutritional content from different organs of the prey.

Sharks themselves are a cartilaginous class (called Chondrichthyes) and can eat other cartilaginous organisms.

Sharks may eat bones directly such as eating the bones of a sea turtle, or they may eat the bones indirectly by eating the carcass of a whale that has already been scavenged by other animals of the ocean.

Scavenging for bones on larger animal carcasses can provide an additional advantage to boost the nutrition levels.

Eating bones can be the best source of nutrients for sharks. It provides them the essential nutrients and vitamins, and can also be a beneficial food source in scarcity time.

Do sharks eat human bones?

Sharks are known as the opportunistic predator of the ocean. They feed on whatever is wandering in the ocean. Some sharks are carnivores means they kill and eat other animals. sharks do nor regularly feed on humans but in some cases, sharks can eat human dead bodies including bones. So yes, sharks can and do eat human bones. But why do sharks eat bones?

There are many reasons eg if the human remains are mixed with other sea animal carcasses or if a human died unfortunately in the ocean or was attacked by a shark.

Some of the shark species that are known to eat human bones include:

  • Tiger sharks
  • Bull sharks
  • Great white sharks
  • Oceanic whitetip sharks
  • Greenland sharks

Shark attacks on humans are not very common. However, self-defense and prevention are very important to avoid the risk of shark attacks on humans.

In 2016 research was conducted and published in the journal Ichthyological Research shows that tiger sharks are more likely to eat human remains than other shark species.

Another study, published in the journal Marine Biology in 2017, found that bull sharks eat human bones and humans. According to this research, bull sharks are more likely to attack humans in areas where there are large numbers of people, such as beaches and marinas. In 2017, a shark was caught off the coast of Florida with a human arm in its stomach.

Can sharks bite through bones?

Biting through bones depends on the type of shark. But most of the sharks are known for their sharp and serrated teeth. So, they do not hesitate to pierce the bones and tear them into pieces.

But again, it completely depends on the species of the shark and how powerful their teeth and jaws are.

For example, the Great white shark can chomp other sharks or bony organisms of the ocean into pieces easily because of their powerful jaws and sharp teeth.

However, some small species of sharks like whale sharks and leopard sharks are not capable of chomping and tearing the larger and thicker bones into pieces.

It is observed that the great white shark can also feed on other whale sharks and as they have such a powerful jaw, so they do not struggle while crushing them into pieces.

The Powerful bite of shark

Sharks are the apex predators of the ocean and have powerful jaws through which they hunt and crush the large bony prey into pieces.

The Great white sharks have an estimated power of 2500 to 3400 pounds per square inch (PSI), which is about 20 times more powerful than human jaws and 10 times stronger than wolves.

These are just estimates. Its power depends on the individual shark’s strength. But all sharks share one common thing, they are built for serious chomping.

Unlike human beings, a shark’s jaw is a cartilaginous structure consisting of special flexible and hard muscles. These muscles help sharks to widely open their mouth and close with great force to tear the hard stuff to pieces.

How do sharks digest bones?

Sharks have serrated blades through which they rip the flesh and eat the chunks. But what about the remaining hard stuff like bones?

The stomach of a shark consists of a large number of chemicals that digest the food but the most important one is the acids. These acids are much more powerful and have a PH of 1-2 even stronger than humans and other animals.

If something unexpected happens during the digestion process, in that case, sharks have an amazing system to remove that out into the ocean. The process of removing the undigested hard material outside the body of a shark is called regurgitating.

Final thoughts:

So far, we have discussed that sharks can and do eat bones. They have the natural power to absorb bones and other hard food materials.

This was all about shark eating bones and if you have any queries about this topic, you can ask in the comment section.

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