Goblin 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.

Goblin sharks are a rarely seen shark that live in different oceans. This lesson will teach you about goblin sharks, how they got their name, the special way they catch food and some other neat facts about these sharks.

What is a Goblin Shark?

You are a small squid, swimming around deep in the ocean minding your own business, looking for a snack. Suddenly, rows of sharp, jagged teeth seem to shoot out of nowhere and now instead of looking for a snack, you've become one! You just got eaten by a goblin shark!

Goblin sharks are deep sea sharks that are rarely seen. They have long noses and jaws full of teeth that can stretch out of their mouth and be pulled back in. You might think that people know a lot about every animal that lives on Earth, but goblin sharks are almost never seen or caught and scientists don't know very much about these scary looking sharks.

Goblin Shark with Long Nose and Sharp Teeth
Goblin Shark with Long Nose and Sharp Teeth

They got their name because they look like the creepy goblins in Japanese myths and legends, where several have been caught, but these sharks are real. Goblin sharks can grow to a little over twelve feet and be as heavy as 460 pounds. That is shorter than an American alligator and about the same weight.

Scientists are pretty sure that baby goblin sharks hatch from eggs inside the mother goblin shark, but they have never seen one that was pregnant to know for certain.

What do Goblin Sharks Eat?

When scientists looked at what was inside the stomachs of goblin sharks that have been caught, they found small fish, squid and crabs.

But what is more interesting is how they catch their dinner. Imagine sitting on the couch and wanting a piece of pizza that is just out of reach on the coffee table. Instead of reaching over to get it, you lunge your head forward so that your jaws stretch out like they were connected to your mouth with elastic bands. Your teeth grab the pizza and then snap back into your head, and you didn't even have to get up!

That is exactly how a goblin shark catches its dinner! If a squid snack swims by but is just out of reach, the goblin shark shoots its jaws forward about three inches and grabs the squid before it even knows what happened. The goblin shark's teeth pop back into its mouth with the squid and dinner is served. This is a great skill to have because goblin sharks aren't very fast swimmers and, unlike pizza, squid can escape.

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