Sharks & Dolphins: Feeding Frenzy
Underwater creatures use a variety of clever techniques to find their food. For example, sharks hunt by detecting vibrations in the water and use their sense of smell to find their prey. Dolphins use echolocation to find their catch and then work with their pods to herd and corral the catch. Let’s take a look at the different ways sharks and dolphins feed.
A shark’s sense of smell is highly developed, but it’s not true that it can smell a drop of blood in the water miles away (that is a myth). Sharks can detect blood up to one part per million (ppm) in the water up to 90m away, and sharks will not hunt for a wounded animal if they are not hungry.
Sharks have a lateral line on their bodies that allows them to detect vibrations and electricity generated by other animals in the water. They also have nostril openings called nares on the underside of their snouts. Nares are not used for breathing. Instead, when water washes into the nares, it tells the shark’s brain how far away its prey is, and even what type it is!
Dolphins send out high-frequency sound waves and listen for the echoes they make as they reflect off objects. This is called echolocation. A mass of fatty tissue called a melon inside their heads focuses the sound they produce in a concentrated beam in front of them.
Bottlenose dolphins, for example, produce a broadband click sequence, which can last 50-128 microseconds. Through echolocation dolphins can determine the shape, speed, distance and size of an object in the water. But echolocation works best at close ranges because high frequency sound doesn’t travel very far in water.
Once dolphins find their prey, they use a clever technique called herding to catch them. Herding is done by surrounding a school of fish and packing them tightly together. The dolphins then take turns going through the school of fish and feeding while the group continues to keep the school tightly packed. Another technique called corralling is when dolphins chase down a school of fish and push them into shallow waters. The dolphins keep them there and take turns feeding.
Join us at Dynamic Earth to celebrate Shark Week this July 1, 2, and 3rd. Dive into exciting hands-on activities and workshops including shark face painting, shark anatomy and other fun workshops.
Also this summer, experience Nightlife on the Rocks on a larger scale during the July 8th event, JAWsome at Dynamic Earth. Sink your teeth into fun with MEGA activities and drinks while exploring the Megalodon: Largest Shark that Ever Lived exhibit. You don’t want to miss this jaw-dropping night out.
If you didn’t get your fill during Shark Week, don’t worry! Dynamic Earth is featuring a double bill film night in the Atlas Copco Theatre to quench your thirst! We will screen Sharkwater and the cult classic JAWS from 7pm-11pm.
See our website for further details!