Large and mysterious
As well as being one of the largest sharks in the world, the Pacific sleeper shark is also one of the most mysterious thanks to its preference for deep water.
How big can it get?
The largest caught was a ‘mere’ 4 metres (14-feet) but cameras have caught sight of specimens in the dark depths that are closer to 7 metres (23-feet). The average known weight is 350 kilograms, although these deep sea behemoths may well tip the scales at the half-ton mark.
What does it eat?
It enjoys everything from octopus to shrimp, from small dolphins to hermit crabs, and on occasion, the odd seal or two.
How does it hunt?
Essentially a giant dogfish, it acts as a scavenger rather than a predator. It sucks up its dinner from the ocean water or the sea bed into its short but powerful snout and breaks down any large morsels using its big, strong teeth.
How dangerous is it?
Interaction between humans and the Pacific sleeper shark is unlikely – humans simply could not dive deep enough – meaning that, luckily for them, these giants are relatively safe.
How many are left?
The actual number in existence is unknown due to it being fond of pitch black deep seas.
The Pacific sleeper shark inhabits the deepest parts of Earth’s oceans where food can be scarce. As such it always takes a packed-lunch along for the ride. Its unique ability to store lots of food within its stomach – on average about 150 kilograms – means that it can go lengthy periods without worrying about finding dinner.