All About Greenland Sharks: The Longest Living Vertebrates on Earth

Greenland Shark

Photo: Doug Perrine via Alamy

Did you know the Greenland shark is the longest living vertebrate on Earth? These sharks have a lifespan between 250 and 500 years old! Nearly half a millennium!

Greenland sharks are some of the giant sharks in the world, with an average length of 15 feet. But size isn't the only thing that makes them unique.

These massive predators are known to live for centuries—some scientists believe that they may even be immortal.

They are also one of the few species of shark that can thrive in waters beneath the ice, where they hunt for fish and marine mammals.

Their slow metabolism means they can go for long periods without food, which is likely why they have survived for so long in such harsh conditions.

While we don't know much about these ancient creatures, scientists believe they play an essential role in the Arctic ecosystem. This blog post will explore some of the most exciting facts about these fantastic creatures.

Description and Appearance

The Greenland Shark, is a giant shark found in the Arctic and North Atlantic oceans.

They are one of the largest fish species in these waters, with an estimated length of 21 feet (6.4 meters) and a maximum weight of over 2,200 pounds (1,000 kilograms).

Greenland Sharks have a unique appearance compared to other sharks. They are counter-shaded, meaning their upper body is darker than their lower body. This helps them blend in with the water around them and makes it difficult for prey to spot them.

Greenland Sharks are greyish-brown in color with a white underside, and they have a long, round body with a large, blunt head.

Their eyes are small and placed far back on their head, and they have five pairs of gill slits. They also have two dorsal fins but no anal fin.

This shark's slow swimming pattern, averaging only 0.76mph ( 1.22 km/h ), makes it one of the slowest sharks in the ocean.

It spends most of its time in deep waters (about 2000 meters ft.) but has been known to come closer to shore.

The closest it has been to shore is through Gage Beasley's Greenland Shark Profile Unisex T-Shirt—having been modeled in malls, parks, and everywhere else you can imagine. Will you be the next one to model this piece of art?


The Greenland shark is a cosmopolitan species of shark that inhabits the frigid waters of the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans.

The diet of the Greenland shark has been a mystery for centuries, but recent studies have shed some light on what this elusive predator eats. Scientists believe that, despite its sluggish nature, the Greenland shark is a voracious predator that feeds on various animals, including fish, seal pups, and even smaller sharks.

They are thought to use their sense of smell to locate potential prey, and they hunt by lurking near the ocean floor and ambushing their unsuspecting prey.

While the diet of Greenland sharks may be relatively simple, their hunting methods are remarkably efficient; as a result, these slow-moving predators can thrive in even the most hostile environments.

Greenland sharks are notoriously difficult to study due to their remote habitat and sluggish nature, but researchers believe these sharks play an essential role in the Arctic ecosystem.

These predators help to keep populations of smaller animals in check, and their scavenging habits help to clean up the ocean floor.


A Greenland shark spends its entire life in the dark waters of the North Atlantic and the Arctic Oceans, where it hunts for seals, fish, and other small prey.

Very little is known about this elusive shark, but one thing is sure: it has a prolonged reproductive cycle.

Greenland sharks reproduce slowly, with females giving birth to only a few live young every few years.

The female gives birth to fully developed young, measuring 15-16 inches in length. The young are born in the open ocean and must fend for themselves.

Though little is known about the early life of these sharks, it is believed that they spend their first few years close to shore, gradually moving out into deeper waters as they mature.

Adult Greenland sharks are found throughout the Arctic Ocean, usually at depths of 1,000-3,000 feet.

Scientists believe that Greenland sharks may be the longest-living vertebrates on Earth! These sharks can live up to 400 years old, nearly double the lifespan of the next longest-living animal (a bowhead whale).

This incredible lifespan is due to the slow growth rate of Greenland sharks.


Greenland sharks are found in the North Atlantic Ocean, around Iceland, Greenland, and Svalbard.

They are most commonly found near Iceland, Greenland, and Canada. Scientists believe there are two different populations of Greenland sharks - one that lives in the eastern Atlantic Ocean and one in the western Atlantic Ocean.

They are also found in the Arctic Ocean, off the coast of Russia. The depth range for this species is between 660 and 3,280 ft (200 and 1,000 m).

These sharks are thought to be pelagic, meaning they spend most of their time in the open water column and only come near the bottom to feed.

However, they have been known to enter fjords and other areas with little current. Greenland sharks are slow-moving animals that seem to patrol their territory methodically.

This shark is often seen swimming in a figure-eight pattern. Not much is known about the social behavior of Greenland sharks since they spend most of their time alone or in small groups.

Conservation Status

Photo: Waterframe via Alamy

The Greenland shark is a giant shark found in the cold waters of the North Atlantic. Despite their impressive size, little is known about these elusive creatures.

In recent years, there has been increasing concern over the declining population of Greenland sharks.

Their slow growth rate makes them vulnerable to overfishing, and they are also sometimes accidentally caught in fishing nets meant for other species.

Climate change also impacts Greenland shark populations, as the warming waters make it harder for them to find food.

As a result, the International Union for Conservation of Nature has classified the Greenland shark as "Vulnerable." However, with more research and conservation efforts, this species is hoped to be saved from extinction.

Other Interesting Facts

Here are ten interesting facts about Greenland sharks:

  1. Greenland sharks are one of the largest, growing up to 7 meters in length.
  2. They are found throughout the North Atlantic and the Arctic Oceans and prey on various animals, including fish, seals, and even small sharks.
  3. These sharks have a lifespan between 250 and 500 years, making them one of the longest-lived vertebrate species on Earth.
  4. Greenland sharks are slow swimmers and can only swim at speeds up to 0.76 mph.
  5. These Sharks are ovoviviparous, meaning that they give birth to live young who develop inside egg cases within the mother's body.
  6. Greenland sharks grow very slowly, reaching maturity at around 150 years old.
  7. Greenland sharks are sometimes called "sleeper sharks" due to their sluggish movements and habit of lying still at the bottom of the ocean.
  8. The Greenland shark is the only known shark species that can live in waters up to 32 degrees Fahrenheit, making it one of the most tolerant creatures on Earth with too cold temperatures.
  9. Unlike other predators, which use their sight to find prey, Greenland sharks rely on a sense of smell. They are attracted to the scent of animal blood and have been known to follow boats for miles in search of a meal.
  10. Due to their slow metabolism, they can go without eating for long periods.

Given their fascinating habits and long lifespan, Greenland sharks are genuinely one of the most intriguing creatures in the ocean.

Final Thoughts

The Greenland Shark is a giant shark found in the North Atlantic's cold waters.

These sharks are ovoviviparous, meaning they give birth to live young, which develops inside egg cases within the mother's body.

They are found throughout the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans and prey on various animals, including fish, seals, and even small sharks.

These sharks have a lifespan between 250 and 500 years, making them one of the longest-lived vertebrate species on Earth.



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