How Do Sharks Pee?

June 17, 2023
David Sunnyside

Sharks are pretty incredible creatures and they're definitely getting some of the love that they deserve right now. Recently a thread of cool facts about Greenland sharks went viral on Twitter and got everyone in a sharky mood, so let's take a closer look at these fascinating animals.

The answer to the question of how do sharks pee isn't quite as straightforward as a simple "yes." It turns out that, like bony fish, sharks have a urinary system with a bladder, but they don't release urine through their skin. Instead, the urea that they produce is reabsorbed into their muscles and then expelled through a special opening on their body called the cloaca. When this happens, it can often be seen as a cloud of color in the water and it looks a little bit like a fart.

It might be a little gross, but the reason why sharks do this is to prevent themselves from becoming too salty. Their bodies have a high concentration of salt, so the urea they produce helps to regulate this by flushing out excess salt into the sea.

The only unfortunate thing about this is that it can also leave a foul taste in shark meat, which some say tastes a little bit like road kill or chicken. That's because the urea is converted to ammonia by a biochemical process and, if it doesn't get washed off properly before consumption, shark meat can have a very unpleasant flavor.

David Sunnyside
Co-founder of Urban Splatter • Digital Marketer • Engineer • Meditator
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