Mommy Shark, Do Do Do-Do Do-Do… Shark Week Day 3

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Whether you love them or hate them, the celebrity guest episodes of Shark Week are very important. Sure, they may be the most gimmicky shows of the week, but they attract new demographics. Obviously, this is good if you’re running a TV station, but it’s also good for the sharks. Not everyone out there is a hardcore shark fin-atic like I am. If more people can be drawn to Shark Week, there’s a chance that more people will learn to appreciate them, maybe even love them, then more people will want to protect them. So Shark Week can bring on as many celebrity guests as it wants and I won’t complain – as long as it benefits the sharks, that’s all that matters.

The TV is the most important thing in the house during Shark Week. Not as important as conservation efforts to protect our apex predators, but still pretty important.

Mothersharker: Dr. James Sulikowski led a team of shark experts on an expedition to find pregnant tiger sharks. Why? So he could place a tracking device in one of her uteruses, of course. Again, why? So that when she gives birth, she’ll pop the tag out and the scientists will know exactly where the pupping ground is. This show held my interest right from the get-go. With the help of Dr. Toby Daly-Engel, Dr. Neil Hammerschlag, Brian Fraser, and shark whisperer Jamin Martinelli, Dr. Sulikowski made history by uncovering valuable information about shark births. This will allow scientists to better protect both sharks and humans. Essentially, this was the more scientific version of Tiffany Haddish’s special – it’s as if they let her have just a taste of the larger experiment. It’s probably not a good idea to put celebrities in some of the more extreme shark week situations. But, this episode didn’t have anything that could compare to Tiffany’s bright pink wetsuit. Or did it? One of the deckhands practiced Tutu Tuesdays – a day where he would wrangle sharks while wearing a bright pink tutu. With matching accessories, of course. But the best part of this show was, hands down, the appearance of A BABY TIGER SHARK.

Brad Paisley’s Shark Country: For starters, there was something wrong with the sound of this episode, which is ironic given that this show is all about how sharks react to sound and music. (And yes, I know for certain that it wasn’t a problem with my tv. And it wasn’t just me either – it sounded off to my husband too). The music played clearly, and loudly, but I had a really hard time understanding what anyone was saying – one of the many reasons why I think subtitles should be mandatory. Sound issues aside, this was another fun celebrity special. Brad Paisley dragged J.B. Smoove on an adventure to study sharks with Dr. Austin Gallagher and Dr. Erica Staaterman in the Bahamas. Honestly, I’ve seen so many different shows, Shark Week and other, look at how sharks react to sound. I’m sure there’s even a Mythbusters episode that does this. There was nothing particularly new and exciting in this one. And I’m not a fan of Brad Paisley’s music, so I had no reason to be invested in this. I just watched it for the sharks. I was all set to dislike this episode until the very end when Brad Paisley’s band showed up. And they weren’t there to go diving. You guessed it, they played a concert from the boat. But who was the concert for? The sharks, of course. That was such a delightfully entertaining moment that brought a smile to my face.

It’s all about the mouth when it comes to the Goblin Shark! This pink-skinned alien shark from the deep is considered a “living fossil” and has impressive protrusible jaws.

Spawn of El Diablo: Prompted by a potential El Diablo sighting, shark behaviouralist Michelle Jewell led an expedition to study great white mating. Unfortunately, little is known about shark reproduction, but the knowledge is so crucial for conservation efforts. With help from Shark Week regulars Greg Skomal, Enrico Gennari and Devon Massyn, Michelle went on the hunt for El Diablo in South Africa. Her hope was that studying him and his behaviour would lead her closer to great white breeding grounds. As a bonus, there were some Air Jaws worthy breaches involved. Although this was an interesting episode, it was more about territorial behaviour from male great whites than mating and reproduction. Based on the introduction of the episode, and the fact that I just watched Mothersharker, I was really expecting to learn more about great white mating. Don’t get me wrong, learning about the territorial behaviours of the male sharks and how it pertained to mating was interesting, it just wasn’t what I expected to get out of this. Basically, I wanted more baby sharks.

The fact that there have been three shows so far this week looking at shark mating and reproduction is huge. This has been a blind spot in shark science for so long that it’s exciting to know that there’s now more attention being paid to this particular field, and that the technology has advanced enough in order to allow for more in-depth studies. The more we know about shark reproduction, the better we can protect them. If scientists can discover where mating grounds and pupping grounds are, then they can ensure those areas are better protected. This will help to ensure the safety of the shark species that are endangered or critically endangered. I can’t wait to see even more advancements in this field of shark science!

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