Goblin Shark: Deep Ocean “Sea Monster”

GoblinShark04If the explorers of old noted this monster in their journals, we may have been inclined to think they were having a little too much rum that day, and were sorely misguided by what they saw.

So when I saw this animal for the first time, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I mean, these deep ocean creatures are starting to make Bigfoot, Mothman, Nessie, and your local werewolf look like the supermodels of the cryptid scene!

GoblinShark01What a horrifying little beast! But there it is – the Goblin shark, known by science as the Mitsukurina owstoni.

What It Is

According to National Geographic, they are a rare species of shark, a “living fossil” that is very much like the sharks of the prehistoric seas.

The males grow to over 3.8 m (12 feet) long; females may grow larger.

GoblinShark02They have a long snout with deep-set jaws that rapidly extend to capture small prey.

Its front teeth are long & sharp, the uppers being a little longer than the bottoms. But in the back, the teeth are made for crushing.

Unlike other (more modern) sharks, they do not have nictitating eyelids (a thin membrane that covers the eye when protection is needed).

GoblinShark03 Location Location Location

Not a whole lot is known about them, but scientists believe they live on or near the bottom of the ocean floors, perhaps extending up to the areas where the outer continental shelves drop down into the ocean, around 40-1200 m (131 – nearly 4K feet)

These sharks seem to be located in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans.

GoblinShark06Many are caught around Japan probably due to their poor fishing practices whereby they drop nets and indiscriminately scoop up whatever is around, regardless of whether they want it or not. They are sometimes caught off the coast of Portugal by accident during deep-water trawls. They are also known in the waters off New South Wales in southern Australia. (Juvenile female above, caught off New Zealand in 2004.)

GoblinShark05Their Menu

There are few records of these sharks’ stomach contents, but what little has been recovered points to small bony fish, cephalopods, as well as an unknown (to science) crab.

Like other sharks, they are very sensitive to electric currents in the water, particularly those coming from living prey. Scientist believe they hone in on their prey in those dark cavernous waters using this technique.

GoblinShark07Scientists think they may be common in their deep water realm, but they are rare to us who live near and on the surface. Because they don’t know for sure, they recommend treating them as rare creatures just to be on the safe side.(Artist’s rendering to the right.)

Scientists don’t think they pose any threat to humans, but hands up anyone who wants to find out! LOL!! No thanks!

By the way, if you see this picture on the internet, it’s a fake. That looks suspiciously like fabric to me! Plus in a real one, the mouth is behind the eye at rest and the gills are on the underside of the “neck”.


Til the next time!



  1. What an ugly creature! I can see why if anyone found one of these centuries ago they would call it a sea monster. Looking at them makes me feel like I’m looking through a window back in time 500 million yrs ago during the cambrian period.

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