Shortfin Mako Shark
Overview — Shortfin mako sharks have been called “the peregrine falcons of the shark world.” Their torpedo-like bodies and biochemistry make these the fastest of all sharks. Many attain speeds up to 22 miles per hour. One shortfin mako was even clocked swimming at 43 miles per hour. To put that into perspective, the fastest known humans run at around 18 mph.
These sharks live in tropical and temperate offshore waters, most often from the surface to depths of 490 feet. They are found worldwide, most commonly in the western Atlantic from Argentina up to the Gulf of Mexico.
Feeding Habits — Shortfin mako sharks are aggressive feeders and will not hesitate to attack when provoked. Some fishermen have reported that these sharks have released themselves from fishing lines and then proceeded to bite and batter those who were on board the ship. Humans, however, put a far greater dent on the shark’s population, due to demand for their meat, fins and hide.
In the shark’s own watery domain, the species is a good hunter because its body temperature is seven to 10 degrees higher than that of the surrounding water. The heat and energy boost give it a physical advantage over more cold-blooded prey, like mackerels, tunas, bonitos, swordfish, other sharks, sea turtles and seals.
Cool Fact — Shortfin mako sharks can leap up to 20 feet out of the water into the air.
Common Max Depth — 490 feet