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Mako Shark Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Lauren Scott

Lauren has a Master's degree in special education and has taught for more than 10 years.

This lesson will introduce you to the fastest shark in the ocean! The mako shark is both popular with fishermen, and feared for its speed and sharp teeth. This lesson will teach you where it lives, what it eats, and how it moves through the ocean.

Mako Shark Features

You could call them the track stars of the sea! Mako sharks are known for being fast and acrobatic animals. There are actually two different species of Mako shark. The shortfin mako is the most common, while the longfin mako is rare. The shortfin mako is what most people think of when they hear about mako sharks. The shortfin mako grows to more than 12 feet in length, and can weigh up to 1,500 pounds. It has five gill slits that allow it to pull oxygen from the water. Mako sharks have extremely sharp, pointed teeth that are ideal for catching and eating large fish.

Mako sharks are fast swimmers and skilled hunters.
Mako shark

Mako sharks are known for being the fastest sharks in the world. They can swim at speeds over 20 miles per hour, with the fastest ever recorded at speeds over 40 miles per hour. They can do this because they keep their body temperatures much warmer than the surrounding water, giving them plenty of energy for speed. They can even jump up to 20 feet into the air!

Where Do Mako Sharks Live?

Mako sharks are widespread throughout warm and temperate oceans. They are most common in the western Atlantic Ocean, ranging from the Gulf of Mexico down to Argentina. Mako sharks usually stay offshore. They swim near the surface, as well as down to almost 500 feet below the surface.

Mako sharks are usually found in the open ocean. They do not tend to swim near shore.
Mako pair

Mako Shark Diet

Mako sharks are top predators, and can eat large prey. Some of their favorites include tuna, swordfish, and other sharks. They might eat porpoises and sea turtles, too. They hunt aggressively, and use their speed to overtake slower-moving animals.

Mako sharks are known for their sharp teeth.
Mako head

Baby mako sharks are predators before they are even born! As the pups develop inside the mother, the larger pups will eat the smaller ones. They don't eat all of their brothers and sisters, though. Scientists estimate that female mako sharks have litters of 8-10 pups.

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