Goblin Shark Facts

  • Common Name: Goblin shark
  • Scientific name: Mitsukurina owstoni
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Length: 3-4m (10-13ft.) when fully matured
  • Weight: 460 pounds
  • Lifespan: 60 years
  • Top swimming speed: 15mph
  • Conservation status: LC (least concern)

You might have seen a shark, but your probability of having encountered a goblin shark might be less. Also called a living fossil, the goblin shark is a deep-sea shark that is extremely rare and is the last member of its family, Mitsukurinidae.

Besides, their appearance is also something that hardly resembles a shark. The goblin shark is a pink-skinned shark with a flat snout, and highly protrusible jaws. Inside the mouth, you’ll find numerous nails as teeth capable of hunting down the enemies in a breeze. Do you want to know some more interesting facts about the goblin shark? If so, here are lots of them for you.

63 Goblin Shark Facts for kids

  1. Goblin sharks are also called living fossils.
  2. They are the rare species of deep-sea shark that are found in the deep sea.
  3. The goblin shark is a pink-skinned shark with an elongated, flat snout and extremely protrusible jaws.
  4. They measure approximately 3m to 4m (10-13ft.) when fully matured.
  5. Their mature weight is around 460 pounds.
  6. However, some goblin sharks like the one captured in 2000 measured 6m (20ft.) in length.
  7. Goblin sharks are benthopelagic creatures.
  8. An adult goblin shark is believed to be capable of diving to depths of up to 1,300m (4,270ft) for short periods.
  9. Goblin sharks are sluggish due to their flabby body and small fins.
  10. Goblin sharks usually hunt for teleost fishes, cephalopods, and crustaceans.
  11. The long snout of goblin sharks is covered with the ampullae of Lorenzini. This helps them sense even the minutest of electric fields produced by their nearby prey.
  12. Small goblin sharks are also unintentionally caught by fisheries.
  13. Their wide distribution and low incidence of capture made IUCN label goblin sharks as species of least concern (LC).
  14. The length of the snout of the goblin shark reduces with its age.
  15. Their eyes are small and devoid of nictitating membranes.
  16. The goblin sharks have a huge parabolic mouth.
  17. You will find 35-53 upper and 31-62 lower tooth rows inside their huge mouth.
  18. Goblin sharks have so far been found in all major oceans around the world. This includes the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans.
  19. It is not a fast swimmer.
  20. Goblin sharks are ambush predators.
  21. It has low-density flesh and a large oily liver. Due to these, it is naturally buoyant.
  22. A goblin shark drifts towards its prey with a minimal motion to avoid its detection by the prey.
  23. At first impression, a goblin shark carries ghostly complexions.
  24. Goblin sharks are not sharks. They are big fish.
  25. They are neither the fastest shark nor the biggest. Plus, they are not the most powerful.
  26. Although they are found in all major oceans, a goblin shark is mostly encountered off the coasts of Japan.
  27. When the Japanese fisheries accidentally caught it, they started to call it tengu, a Japanese demon.
  28. Thus, they named the species as tengu-zame, which later got converted to goblin shark.
  29. Adult goblins are normally captured while swimming at depths of 900 to 4300 ft.
  30. Juvenile goblins prefer swimming to within 90 feet of the surface. However, they too prefer venturing inside deep waters just like their parents and other adult sharks.
  31. Goblin sharks mostly rely upon their senses for hunting and swimming due to their small eyes.
  32. The life cycle of a goblin shark is still considered a great mystery.
  33. The most dangerous part of their bodies is their long and flattened snout that resembles a blade.
  34. The goblin shark’s monstrous jaws are attached to elastic ligaments that help them catch their prey immediately upon sensing.
  35. The elastic ligaments to which the jaws of goblin sharks are attached helps them to throw forward their whole mouth at a distance equal to 8.6% to 9.4% of their total body length. If your mouth was designed such that, you’d have been capable of biting into a piece of food kept around 7″ in front of your mouth.
  36. The feeding and hunting style of the goblin shark is named “slingshot feeding” by researchers at Hokkaido University.
  37. A goblin shark can use its jaws twice as fast as New York City’s pedestrian walk.
  38. A goblin shark can open its mouth wide, approximately to an angle of 111-degrees.
  39. Goblin sharks are soft-bodied predators.
  40. The natural diet of goblin sharks includes squids and crabs.
  41. The Mitsukurinidae family was traced back 125 million years ago. This is the reason why goblin sharks are also called living fossils.
  42. The goblin shark can either have tan or pink-coloured skin.
  43. A goblin shark swims at a top speed of 15mph.
  44. The average lifespan of a goblin shark is around 50-60 years.
  45. The goblin sharks shrink as they near their lifespan.
  46. A goblin shark has multiple teeth arranged in multiple rows, namely upper row and lower row.
  47. The different teeth of goblin sharks have different functions.
  48. The teeth located in the main section of the jaw are narrow and long.
  49. The teeth located in the rear jaw are smaller and flattened in shape. These teeth are used for crushing the prey and other animals.
  50. Unlike other sharks that also hunt humans, the goblin shark doesn’t pose any threat to humans.
  51. The goblin shark is also called a vampire shark as it avoids light by living deep under the seas and oceans.
  52. You might feel terrified by looking at a goblin shark. However, it is not necessarily dangerous.
  53. The skin colour of the goblin shark also helps it blend with the nearby surroundings to hide and attack.
  54. Goblin sharks hate captivity. While they can live for up to 60 years in free deep water, they can live for a few days in captivity.
  55. Goblin shark has a noticeably long head, tiny eyes, and five short gill openings.
  56. A goblin shark is rarely seen at the surface or in shallow coastal waters.
  57. The goblin sharks sense their prey with the help of electro-sensitive organs.
  58. They feed on crabs and deep-sea rockfish.
  59. The elongated and odd-looking snout of the goblin shark is called rostrums.
  60. The goblin sharks can “see” electricity.
  61. An adult goblin shark can be found as deep as 4,300ft. inside water.
  62. Besides all the major oceans, goblin sharks are also found in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Brazil, and other portions of South America.
  63. The human and goblin shark interaction is very rare.

Conclusion

While you might have seen sharks in seas or oceans, the chances of your interaction with a goblin shark are extremely rare. One of the simple reasons behind this is the fact that such sharks prefer living deep inside the water. 

That’s another reason why goblin sharks are also called sharks of the deep sea. Since they are the only living member of their family that age back to 125 million years, it’s also called living fossils. Lastly, it’s worth knowing that a goblin shark isn’t harmful to humans.