Stuff Mom Never Told You
Seeing beyond pink and blue to decode the mysteries of men and women.

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Can sharks smell blood from miles away? | July 29, 2009

 
Announcer

Welcome to Stuff Mom Never Told You from Howstuffworks.com.

Cristen Conger

Hello, and welcome to the podcast. This is Cristen.

Molly Edmonds

And this is Molly.

Cristen Conger

Molly, as you well know, Shark Week on Discovery Channel, in which everything shark takes over the airwaves.

Molly Edmonds

Tracy Jordan’s favorite week.

Cristen Conger

Tracy Jordan’s favorite week, yes, for fans of 30 Rock, which we probably shouldn’t plug because it’s on a different network from Discovery Channel. But still, Shark Week is coming up, so we’re gonna talk about sharks today. And Molly, how on earth could we talk about sharks in relationship to women. It seems pretty disconnected, right?

Molly Edmonds

No. I see a very obvious connection.

Cristen Conger

Oh, Molly, do explain.

Molly Edmonds

Well, the thing I always think about sharks, I think it’s a big urban myth that’s out there is that sharks can smell blood for miles away. Obviously, without getting too crude about it, this is of particular importance to women because there’s a particular time of the month in which we release between 50 and 150 ml of blood.

Cristen Conger

I think I heard about that.

Molly Edmonds

It’s called menstruation.

Cristen Conger

All right Molly, so yeah, the big question is should we really avoid swimming the ocean if we are on our periods because we’re basically shark magnets. Let’s talk about it. Let’s talk about sharks’ incredible sense of smell because the fact of the matter is, sharks can smell blood from a very long distance away because they have some pretty incredible nasal anatomy, right Molly?

Molly Edmonds

Yeah. Sharks are sometimes known as swimming noses because they can just smell so well. Imagine being in this vat of 10 billion things, okay, and there’s only one part of those 10 billion things that’s like fish extracts. If you put the shark in there with the 10 billion things, it can smell the fish. One out of 10 billion things it will smell.

Cristen Conger

That’s incredible.

Molly Edmonds

And let’s say you get in a swimming pool Cristen, and we put a teaspoon of vanilla, cinnamon, or something smelly in there, would you be able to smell it? Probably not.

Cristen Conger

Probably not; I can’t smell underwater, obviously.

Molly Edmonds

Well, sharks can, and they can smell something just that tiny, a teaspoon. So yes, something that’s as far away – like, let’s say you get this huge, gaping cut in the ocean. You step on a shell or something -

Cristen Conger

Oh, God.

Molly Edmonds

And there’s blood, yes, the shark will smell that.

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