Steve Backshall learns about sharks. Steve meets the most sinister shark in our seas, the ragged tooth shark, with a mouth of terrifying teeth.
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My name's Steve Backshall.
This is Shark Bites.
Not many would argue that this is the most sinister shark in our seas.
The ragged tooth shark.
It may be slow, stocky, serene,
but its mouth is literally overflowing with terrifying teeth.
They can measure over three metres in length
and spend their days hidden away in coral caves...
..or surveying the seas.
So, why does such a seemingly calm
and placid shark need such gnarly gnashers?
South Africa's Indian Ocean coast is the perfect place to get
a closer look.
This is the time of day that we've been waiting for.
It's dusk, the sun is just starting to go down, and this is when things
underwater get really interesting, particularly with sharks.
A shark that during the day has been slow-moving, passive,
almost lazy, can all of a sudden turn into a fast, fearsome,
and perhaps quite frightening animal, with one thing on its mind -
And it wasn't long before the sun had set
and we lost all natural light.
It's a bit spooky, really.
There's an incredible amount of life down here.
A ragged tooth shark.
Which definitely lives up to its name.
Their teeth almost seem to spill out of their mouths.
They have nearly 100 needle-sharp active teeth
that are angled backwards, and these form a flawless fish trap.
Menacing, maybe, but they're a perfect predatory tool.
And it's not just the adults that have these fearsome fangs.
Unborn babies have them, too.
And not only that, but they use them...
on each other.
Pregnant females will only ever give birth to a maximum of two young.
So, the strongest will eat their brothers and sisters
while still inside their mother's womb,
making sure that they get a chance to survive.
Making them pretty remarkable fish, even before they're born.
The ragged tooth shark, with their terrifying teeth,
and killer instincts,
surely make this the most sinister shark in our seas.
Steve Backshall meets the most sinister shark in our seas. The ragged tooth shark has a mouth that's overflowing with terrifying teeth. But why does it need such gnarly gnashers? Steve heads out on a dive after dark to see these fearsome fangs for himself, before revealing their sinister secret in his shark lab.