Goblin sharks can thrust their jaws three inches out of their mouths to catch prey.
Goblin sharks can thrust their jaws three inches out of their mouths to catch prey.
Photograph by SeaPics

Goblin Shark

Read about the goblin shark’s jaw-dropping ability.

Swishing through the deep sea, a goblin shark notices a small, yummy-looking squid. The animal inches toward its prey. But as the fish closes in, the snack starts to dart away. So the shark thrusts its jaw three inches out of its mouth! (The jaw is connected to three-inch-long flaps of skin that can unfold from its snout.) The predator then grabs the squid in its teeth. After scarfing down the meal, the shark fits its jaw back into its mouth and swims off.


Goblin sharks are a species of fish that usually live at the bottom of the ocean along continental shelves (or a continent's edges). These pink animals can grow 12 feet long and weigh up to 460 pounds. They have narrow snouts and fanglike teeth. Spotted mostly off the coast of Japan, they’re named for their likeness to mythical goblins that appear in Japanese folklore.

Scientists don’t know much about the behavior of these rarely seen animals. But they believe that goblin sharks are solitary, just like many other shark species. They also think the fish are most active in the morning and evening. These animals are likely sluggish creatures, which can make it hard to chase food. Luckily for the slowpokes, their special extendable jaws give them some extra bite.


A goblin shark’s top and bottom teeth are attached to ligaments, or bands of skin tissue, tucked into its mouth. When prey is just out of reach, the shark extends the elastic tissue out of the mouth to nab the grub. This allows the animal to chow down on snacks such as teleost fish and squid. It also makes the shark one jaw-dropping fish!