Cookie Cutter Shark Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Diane Sieverson

Diane has taught all subjects at the elementary level, was the principal of a K-8 private school and has a master's degree in Measurement and Evaluation.

Cookie cutter sharks are just one of the many kinds of sharks that live in the ocean. This lesson will teach you about the cookie cutter shark, how it got its name, what its bite looks like and some other cool facts about it.

What is a Cookie Cutter Shark?

Imagine being a seal and diving deep into the dark ocean for your dinner. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a small shark bites you and takes a perfectly round chunk out of your skin! You swim up to the surface and leave that cookie cutter shark alone!

A cookie cutter shark is a small, tube-shaped shark with sharp teeth that is a dark brown color on top and a lighter color underneath. It is sometimes called a cigar shark because of its shape and the darker brown ring circling its neck. The bigger ones can grow to be around twenty-two inches long.

Cookie Cutter Shark Head
Cookie Cutter Shark Head

Their name might be cute and remind you of baking yummy treats in the kitchen, but the cookie cutter shark is anything but adorable. It got its name because when it bites, it leaves a round hole in its victim that looks like a cookie.

Cookie Cutter Shark Diet

As you might guess, cookie cutter sharks are carnivores and eat meat. They also have a secret weapon. Their pale-colored underbelly lights up like a green glow stick! That light gets the attention of other animals like fish, seals and whales, who swim over to take a look. Instead of a friendly welcome, they get a nasty surprise.

The cookie cutter shark sinks its teeth into its victim and spins its whole body like a top. It stays attached and won't let go until it has swallowed that round chunk of meat. These sharks usually only hurt their victims, not kill them.

Round Cookie Cutter Shark Bites on a Seal
Round Cookie Cutter Shark Bites on a Seal

Cookie Cutter Shark Habitat

Like you, cookie cutter sharks enjoy warm water and are found deep in ocean water near the equator and close to islands.

And if you've ever been swimming in the ocean or someday want to, you're probably wondering if you are on the cookie cutter shark's menu. Because they typically live more than 3,000 feet under water, and you don't normally dive that deep when you're splashing around at the beach, you will probably never see one.

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