Out of all the sharks in all the seas and oceans of the world, which are the most dangerous?
In actual fact, there are only 3 that are likely to come into human contact that are extremely dangerous, and those are:
and not necessarily in that order.
All are big and powerful sharks, with jaws and teeth designed for gripping and ripping, and this is what makes them so dangerous.
Even if they were to bite us accidentally, they inflict tremendous damage and their bite frequently kills.
Scientists are trying to persuade us that sharks are pussy-catsreally, and that humans are not their natural nor intended prey.
It is true that many times when one of those big sharks takes a bite, they retire to a distance, allowing the victim time to get out, or be taken out of the water.
This gives rise to the belief that the shark made an error of judgement, and that they realised their mistake on that first bite.
While this may well be true, it is far more likely that the shark was simply waiting on its victim to weaken before going back in for the kill.
This is how they hunt seals and sea-lions. They take a bite and wait for their victim to die, then its dinnertime!
We can count ourselves lucky that the enormous megalodon shark, which would make the three on this page look like tadpoles, is now extinct.
Great white shark facts
Great white sharks -
- Grow up to 23 feet in length.
- Weigh up to 5,000lbs.
- Live for more than 30 years.
- Start reproducing when they are around 15 years old.
- Are responsible for more attacks on humans than any other shark
- There is a 33% mortality rate from their bites.
The Great White Shark - Carcharodon carcharias
Famed from the movie 'Jaws', great white sharks have a fearsome reputation and are singularly responsible for more human deaths than all the other sharks put together!
However, only a small percentage of white shark attack victims actually die.
The trouble with great whites is that they prefer shallow waters in cooler seas, just the same place where humans like to swim, or surf.
Although they are pelagic and frequently cross vast expanses of oceans, their breeding and feeding mainly takes place in the shallow coastal waters where they do meet humans, much as we try to avoid them.
While there are 234 reported shark attacks involving the great white worldwide, there are a huge number of shark attacks in history in which the attacking shark has not been identified.
Experts believe the great white may be responsible for many more.
Bull shark facts
Bull sharks -
- Grow up to 11 feet in length.
- Weigh up to 1200lbs.
- Lives for 15 years, but data is unreliable.
- Starts reproducing at 10 years of age.
- Attack humans who stray into their territory
- There is a 31% mortality rate from their bites
The Bull Shark - Carcharhinus leucas
Some might say these are the most dangerous sharks, because although they attack humans on a lot less occasions than the great white, they have been responsible for more deaths as a percentage of the attacks.
This is because, unlike the great white, when the bull shark attacks, it doesn't back off and wait for the victim to die.
Instead they attack again and again, giving the victim no chance to escape.
Bull sharks can live in fresh water too, so have been known to attack people who are swimming or fishing in rivers far upstream from the coast.
They prefer murky water. Rivers often are filled up with silt which has washed downriver from mountains, and while you can't see if a shark is there or not, he can see you.
Sharks have a part of their brain that picks up the electrical signals that all living creatures emit, and sadly bull sharks seem to unable to distinguish between the electrical impulses from fish to that of a human.
Bull sharks are extremely territorial.
They will quickly see off interlopers who dare to wander into 'their' patch. They just eat whatever creature dares to trespass into their area.
That could be YOU.
Bathe in waters 'belonging' to a bull shark, and it is not slow to attack. Unlike the great white, or even the tiger shark, the bull shark goes in for the kill.
Not content to bite once and retire, they tend to bite their victim again and again until they are dead.
This is why bull sharks are sometimes considered to be the most dangerous shark of all.
Since shark attack records began in the mid-19th century, bull sharks have been involved in more fatal attacks as a proportion of overall attacks.
Tiger shark facts
Tiger sharks -
- Grow up to 18 feet in length.
- Weighs up to 1400lbs.
- Live for longer than 12 years, further studies need to be carried out.
- Start reproducing at around 4 years of age, or an average of 9 feet in length, whichever comes first.
- Attack humans when they feel threatened.
- There is a 27.5% mortality rate from tiger shark bites.
The Tiger Shark - Galeocerdo cuvier
Having been suspected of having carried out less attacks than the previous two sharks, this is still one of the most deadliest sharks you could ever encounter.
Tiger sharks prefer the warmer shallow waters of the world, and indeed have even been referred to as "the great white sharks of Hawaii".
In the warm tropical waters around Hawaii, tiger sharks come into contact with bathers on the odd occasion.
Surprisingly enough, Hawaii has less than 1 shark attack per year, compared to more than 40 drownings on average.
Tigers sharks are scavengers, and will eat anything that falls into the ocean, including many domesticated animals.
They have the ability to eat poisonous snakes, jellyfish and sting-rays without ill effect.
They feed mostly after dark, which is another good reason not to enter the water between dusk and dawn.
Tiger sharks are present in all tropical and subtropical waters the world over, not just Hawaii, and they prefer to bask in warm water currents where possible, moving nearer the warm equatorial waters in winter.
While they have been found in deep waters well offshore, they seem to prefer the shallow coastal seas of only 10 - 20 foot deep.
Because of this, they frequently do come into contact with bather and surfers.
Tiger sharks have the perfect coloring to blend into the sea, so quite often the victim is unaware of the presence of the tiger shark until it is too late.
Anonymous on August 12, 2016:
The order is as follows:
1) Bull Sharks
2) Tiger Sharks
3) Great White Shark
sharkfacts (author) from UK on June 10, 2012:
Thanks Julie, good to know the ones to avoid all the same :)
Blurter of Indiscretions from Clinton CT on June 09, 2012:
I love sharks! Nice hub!