What happens to a shark if it stops swimming?


Sharks are some of the most amazing creatures in this planet. They are fearless predators, they have immense amount of power. Their body shaped like a torpedo allows them to cruise the waters without any problems and their strong tail helps them reach high speeds very quick. Let's not forget their scary jaws that makes them the ultimate predator, they have hundreds of razor sharp teeth that help them cut through their pray like butter. Sharks have amazing senses that can detect the slightest movement. Their nose is use strictly for smelling and to breathe they have to remove oxygen from the water by letting water run through their mouth and flow over the gills.

"Inside the gills are hundreds of feathery gill filaments. Each filament in turn has thousands of leaf like lamellae, or flaps, which contain blood vessels. The blood absorbs the oxygen from the incoming water, and the excess water flows back out the shark's body through gill slits. Sharks have five to seven pairs of gill slits, depending on the species." This means that the shark has to swim all the time so that water keeps flowing through its gills, this mechanism is called  "ram ventilation". Some fish do not need to do this because they have a mechanism that lets them swallow water, converted it into oxygen when it passes through its gills, and letting the water that is not needed flow through the gills without moving. There are also sharks that have this mechanism like the angel sharks and nurse sharks which do not need to swim to breath; this mechanism is called "buccal pumping". There are some sharks that can do both ram ventilation and bucal plumbing like the sand tiger shark that when is swimming fast, ramming water over its gills and they cannot pump the water fast enough they tend to slow down and switch to buccal pumping. However there are some Sharks like the white shark that can actually die if they stop swimming, because they only use ram ventilation, they are also known as "obligate ram breathers". These sharks have to keep that forward motion to ram water through their gills in order to get the oxygen out from the water. http://science.howstuffworks.com/zoology/marine-life/shark-drown1.htm

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