Do Sharks Like Blood: Why, Types And Several Facts Around It


Sharks are one of the world’s most dreaded marine predators. Their razor-sharp fangs and stocky body give them a frightening, even murderous aspect.

Sharks can detect blood and are drawn to it. Although these are carnivorous animals, a small amount of blood is unlikely to elicit a shark-feeding frenzy. Contrary to popular belief, Sharks are not as fond of human blood as fish blood.

There are various misconceptions about sharks’ appetite for blood. Hence, exploring all of the whats, hows, and whys linked with this context would be quite beneficial. So, keeping this in mind, we’ll delve deep into the subject in this post and try to unearth some amazing facts about it.

Let us begin our adventure to one of the world’s most feared predators without further ado.

Image Credit: A shark in an attacking mode by SamKey from Pixabay

Do sharks like fresh blood?

Sharks are predatory animals that are drawn to the blood of any kind. But it’s worth investigating if they like fresh or stale blood.

Most sharks can detect blood from a quarter-mile away, but there is no conclusive evidence that they prefer fresh blood. According to studies, sharks are more interested in detecting amino acids, the building blocks that specifically bind in all of our physiological fluids, than in blood. So blood is just blood for them.

Blood is a signal to sharks that there is possible prey nearby. In this sense, sharks are scavengers and are known to be drawn to dead fish or sea lions whose blood may not be fresh but is a few days old.

Why do sharks like blood?

Sharks, without a doubt, have insanely powerful olfactory glands that allow them to smell objects from great distances. So it’s fascinating to consider why sharks become thrilled when they smell blood.

For sharks, blood indicates the presence of prey. As a result, they become intrigued and investigate the odor. On the other hand, Sharks prefer body fluids rather than blood, and one of the reasons they enjoy blood is that it allows them to recognize amino acids.

Sharks, however, do not become enraged when they smell blood. It is, however, a view that we have evolved as a result of the popular depiction of sharks as bloodthirsty fishes.

From how far can sharks smell blood?

Sharks will react if the smell of blood reaches them via tidal water. However, rather than human blood, they would be attracted to fish blood.

That said, a shark, in general, can smell the blood from almost a quarter-mile away. As a result, there is a misinterpretation that sharks can detect a single drop of blood from a mile away.

It’s worth noting that sharks have a similar smelling capacity like other fishes and can detect odors at a rate of one part per 25 million to one part per 10 billion. This capacity, however, varies depending on the species of shark. 

Do sharks like the smell of blood?

Image Credit: Shark attack by
Boris Kasimov
(CC BY 2.0) from Wikimedia

Sharks are apex predators in the water, feasting on blood and meat. They eat mostly marine fishes and crustaceans.

Along with living prey, sharks are also known to feed on dead aquatic animals; therefore, the smell of blood is quite appealing to them. One of the most effective ways for these strong predators to detect their prey is by the smell of blood. As a result, they enjoy blood and are drawn to it.

However, unlike the famed Count Dracula, sharks do not like to drink blood. Instead, they are drawn to it because they are looking for the prey, the source of the blood.

How do sharks smell blood?

So, sharks can smell blood from quite a distance. However, it is interesting to explore how they manage to do so?

Sharks smell with their two nasal passages. Water enters through one of the passages and travels to the spacious nasal cavities. A shark gets prolonged time to sense odors in the nasal cavities before the water exits through the other nare. The water travels via olfactory receptor cells, which deliver scent sensations to the shark’s brain.

As a result of the shark’s powerful olfactory glands, it possesses a great sense of smell. In fact, these fishes can smell one drop of blood in a million drops of water from a quarter-mile distance. It’s the equivalent of one teaspoon of blood in a pool.

What blood type do sharks like?

A shark’s behavior to smell the blood in the water is natural. In addition, a shark will not leave any opportunity to eat on a nearby prey; thus, detecting blood is crucial.

Sharks can and will smell many kinds of blood, but the blood of fishes is more likely to attract them. This is because a shark’s capacity to identify its prey is a natural response by smelling the blood in the seawater.

Going behind that prey or leaving it, on the other hand, is entirely dependent on the shark’s interest and preference. As a result, they are attracted to living or dead fish rather than humans, even if they smell their blood.

Do sharks like human blood?

Image Credit: White shark attack from Maxpixel

Indeed sharks have a good smelling capacity of the blood, and thanks to the 1975 movie “Jaws,” we all have the perception that human blood makes them go crazy.

Sharks are attracted to blood, but they don’t have a special liking for human blood, thanks to the experiment conducted by Mark Rober, a former NASA engineer and a YouTuber. On the other hand, a shark associates the smell of blood with dead flesh and will dash towards the source of the odor to investigate.

That said, it’s worth noting that the smell of all mammals’ blood is the same for sharks. As a result, it is safe to summarize that sharks have no particular taste for human blood.

Do sharks enjoy human blood?

Because sharks are portrayed in movies as colossal oceanic predators, most of us believe that if they scent humans, they will eat them. But how closely is it connected with reality?

Sharks are more likely to be drawn to the blood and flesh of fish and other marine creatures, but if red meat is available, they will devour it. Human flesh is merely another food to them. Bull sharks, for example, would happily attack people if given a chance. Tiger sharks are another species that is known to eat humans.

However, it’s important to remember that sharks don’t like the smell of human blood in general. That doesn’t rule out the chances of them attacking humans, even if it’s just out of curiosity.

Will a shark attack humans just by smelling their blood?

Image Credit: A shark stillhouse in the water from Hippopx

Sharks can detect the odor of any bodily fluid and are drawn to it. But how realistic is it to suppose that sharks will attack humans simply because they smell blood?

If sharks smell blood, the chances of attacking people are few. Shark attacks on humans are uncommon, though not unheard of. Researchers have found that these marine predators are more prone to attack easy prey than humans. As a result, the general impression is greatly exaggerated.

That said, these fishes may get attracted to humans out of curiosity as well as the odor of their blood. However, it’s possible that they don’t intend to attack right away. As a result, if you bleed while swimming in the water, you have some time to get to land safely.

Do sharks attack humans without blood?

Who can forget the uncanny pictures of enormous sharks with open mouths on movie posters? Nobody. But is it true that sharks hunt humans?

Sharks rarely attack humans, particularly if they cannot scent their blood. In addition, humans are not a part of their diet. However, sharks have an inquisitive nature, and they approach humans to explore them, which takes the shape of a shark attack. So, whenever a shark hovers around humans, it may investigate, resulting in an unintentional attack.

It is critical to remember that sharks are afraid of humans. As a result, they don’t tend to approach us too closely. Nonetheless, it’s best to maintain a safe distance from them.

Do sharks like their own blood?

Sharks prefer fish blood to mammals, particularly humans. So, what if they detect blood from themselves or other sharks?

It’s unclear whether they enjoy the odor of their own blood. Although self-attacking sharks are uncommon, cannibalism does exist in several shark species. We can see one shark species attacking another as a predator if they scent blood in such circumstances.

If a shark is bleeding, it is more likely to attack another shark. But, we must understand that such an attack might not be to eat but to fight.

Summary

So there you have it. We hope that our post has helped develop a better understanding of sharks’ fascination with the smell of blood. Sharks are one of the world’s most dreaded predators, although they are far from being bloodthirsty aquatic creatures. They can smell blood in the water and naturally gravitate towards it, although it is unlikely they will always be on the attack, especially against humans. So it’s time to adjust our perceptions to adapt to reality and dispel any myths.

Atrayee

I am Atrayee, I have extreme passion for the Animal Kingdom and I have written a large number of articles for animal behaviors. I am an Animal Lover by nature and own two Cats.
Exploring new things through learning and unlearning is something that intrigues me a lot. I spend my free time with my husband and two cats. I must say I get to learn a lot of wise things from them! You can catch me on LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/atrayee-samaddar-06886567/

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