People were fascinated by sharks long before the movie Jaws came out, although this movie certainly increased the level of interest in this majestic predator. 

There are many different types and breeds of sharks, which can be found in the seas and oceans all over the world. 

Some are common whilst others are incredibly rare and have protected status.  
Sharks are the lions of the ocean – the king of the waters, the ultimate fish.

The Majestic Great White

Photo Credit: Ken Bondy

Need to Know Shark Facts

There are hundreds of interesting things to know about sharks.  If you are interested in sharks, you may enjoy the following shark facts:

  • There are over 350 different types of sharks.
  • If you are afraid of sharks, it may be good to know that you are 1,000 times more likely to die in the sea by drowning than to be bitten by a shark.
  • A shark’s closest relative is the stingray, although many people mistakenly believe it would be the barracuda, because this looks more like a shark.
  • Sharks are dinosaurs, just like crocodiles and turtles.
  • A single drop of blood in a million drops of water can be smelled by a shark.
  • Sharks have excellent hearing and can hear for over a mile.
  • The rings on the vertebra of a shark denote its age.
  • Sharks are not very susceptible to tumours and they heal very quickly.
  • Shark teeth have been used as tools and weapons for hundreds of years.

When thinking of a shark, most people immediately think of the Great White Shark.  This is a legacy of the movie Jaws. 

Some facts about the Great White include:

  • They are the largest predatory fish in existence.
  • The Great White is not suitable for human consumption due to the high mercury levels in their flesh.
  • The only coastline where you will not be able to find a Great White is the coast of Antarctica.
  • A Great White can live for about 25 years.
  • A Great White can eat a sea lion whole.
  • When a Great White attacks a human, it is generally because they think it is a seal.
  • It is believed that there are only around 10,000 Great White Sharks left in the world.
  • Orcas are stronger than the Great White Shark, hence the name Killer Whale.

Sharks Most Seen Whilst Diving

If you want to know which sharks are most seen while diving, the answer may be very elusive.  It all depends exactly on where you go and what you are after. 

Shark diving trips can be organized in relation to a range of sharks, including the Great White and Whale Sharks. These are both protected species, but the likelihood of encountering them is very big on the specifically organized trips.

There are also many species of sharks that are quite common in certain waters, and you may come across them without going on a specifically organized trip. 

For example, nurse sharks are very common in the Caribbean and you are likely to encounter these on almost any diving trip. 

Black tip reef shark

Photo Credit: psmithson

There are also certain occasions where sharks suddenly flock together, for example during the sardine run.

Rare Sharks

The IUCN (The World Conservation Union) has created a red list that contains the names of all endangered animals and plants in the world.  201 different types of sharks appear on this list. 

There are red list criteria that determine exactly how endangered this species is.
In determining how rare certain sharks are findings have shown that:

  • Out of approximately 400 species of sharks, 100 have been [commercially exploited](
  • The long term survival of many of these sharks is not guaranteed
  • There is no good control and monitoring program in place to assist in the survival of sharks, particularly due to international shark trade.
The elusive and rare Wobbegong Shark

Photo Credit: richard ling

Some of the species of shark that are included on this list, whereby the numbers are still declining include:

  • The Angel shark
  • The Angular Angel shark
  • The Bizant river shark
  • The Brownbanded Bamboo Shark
  • The Deepwater Spiny Dogfish
  • The Draughtboard Shark
  • The Dumb Gulper Shark
  • The Dusky Shark
  • The Endeavour Dogfish
  • The New Guinea River Shark
  • The Ornate Wobbegong
  • The Quelvacho Chino
  • The Sicklefin Lemon Shark
  • The Smalltooth Sand Tiger
  • The Snaggletooth Shark
  • The Southern Sawtail Catshark
  • The Spotted Wobbegong
  • The Tassled Wobbegong
  • The Tawny Nurse Shark
  • The Tope Shark
  • The Whale Shark
  • The Whitecheek Shark
  • The Zebra Shark

Unfortunately, many people still feel that they have a right to hunt for sharks, or even feel that it is their right to touch them, putting their own selfish desires above the conservational needs of the shark. 

This goes against anything a diver should believe in, and goes completely against the code of conduct that all scuba divers sign up for.

Sharks are on top of the food chain and are part of a delicate eco system. Divers and snorkelers should respect them and should be proud when they encounter one of these predators underwater. Remember that it is a privilege to be in the water with these creatures.

What are your thoughts about scuba diving with sharks?
Let us know in the comments below

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This article is published by The Scuba Page, the online magazine for Scuba Dive lovers around the world. The Scuba Page is part of RUSHKULT : the online booking platform for adventure sports. Visit the RUSHKULT platform to book your next Scuba Dive training, guided trip and accommodation.

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