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The Final Four of Freaky Sharks

July 16, 2021

We have a winner!

Cookie cutter shark specimen

The Freakiest Shark for 2021 is the Cookie Cutter Shark!

We put it to you to choose, and you picked the cookie cutter shark!

The cookie cutter shark, also called the cigar shark, is found in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The name comes from the way it cuts out hunks of flesh from its prey. It does this by attaching itself to something by sucking with its mouth. Then it swivels its body so its teeth cut out a circular bite. 

Marks made by cookie cutter sharks have been found on a wide variety of marine mammals, fishes, submarines and undersea cables.

Gallery of cookie cutter sharks and bite wounds.

The cookie cutter shark beat out these contenders:

Basking shark swimming toward camera


Basking Shark 

We're working to learn more about this elusive, school bus-sized shark. Vote for the basking shark to see the freaky side of this giant on Friday.




Scientist holding a pocket shark


Pocket Shark 

Back to the tiny ocean-dwellers for this little cutie. At 5-1/2 inches long, this recently discovered shark hides something special—and freaky—in those little pockets. Vote for the pocket shark to find out what it is on Friday.



Thresher shark swimming


Thresher Shark 

This shark's tail grows to be half it's body length and wait until you learn what he can do with it! Vote for the thresher shark to find out what that freaky tail does this Friday!



Last updated by Office of Sustainable Fisheries on February 22, 2022