The Greenland shark is one of the largest shark species reaching a length of about 21 to 24 feet and weighs up to 2,200 pounds. Scientists were surprised to discover that Greenland sharks eat polar bears. They found remnants of polar bears in one of the shark’s stomach which was quite astonishing. However they do not know if shark ate the dead carcass of a bear or she actually pursued the bear and killed it. Besides, the feeding behavior of a Greenland shark has been poorly studied.
Greenland Shark Eat Polar Bear
Greenland shark is also an apex predator but it has never been reported to kill such an unusual prey animal such as this. It might be possible that the shark consumed the polar bear cubs that drowned while swimming. Polar bear cubs are not expert swimmers but they remain close to their mother during swimming. The primary preys of Greenland shark are eels, cod, small sharks, herring, redfish, lumpfish, skates, and squid.
Size and Weight
Greenland sharks measure up to 6.4 m (21 ft) and 1,000 kg (2,200 lb) but the largest specimens grow as large as 1,400 kg (3,100 lb). Polar bears grow up to 350 – 700 kg. In Greenland sharks males are slightly smaller than the females whereas in polar bears males are twice the size of a female.
Greenland Shark Behavior
The Greenland shark is a deep water diver for it is found at a depth of about 2,200 meters (7,200 ft). Polar bears on the other hand dives in shallow water for they must come to the surface every one or two minutes to breathe.
Polar bears can swim at a speed of about 10 km/h (6 mph) whereas Greenland shark cruises at 2.6 km/h (1.6 mph). The bear’s swimming speed is clearly ahead of a shark’s. Greenland shark cannot attain the given speed because this is the top speed. Sharks mostly cruise when they follow seals. The average speed of a Greenland shark is around 1.3 km/h.
Greenland Shark Lifespan
Greenland sharks are the longest living vertebrates on earth. Recent findings suggest that they can live 270 years to 512 years.
The oldest polar bear died at the age of 42 years. The bear was bred in captivity. Bears have a typical lifespan of about 15 – 25 years. There is virtually no comparison between the two Greenland species—not at least in longevity.
Polar bears are threatened in much of its range but Greenland sharks are listed as Near Threatened species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).