Do you want to know about cool sharks? Below you can find the 7 coolest sharks. With Shark Week in full swing, there is no better time to remember that Earth’s oceans, vast and deep, are full of wonderful and extraordinary creatures. More than 1,000 species of sharks have been identified on Earth, from the tiny 8-inch lantern shark to the massive 62-foot whale shark. And scientists are finding more rare sharks than ever before. This is due to fishing, which plumbs the deepest depths and threatens many species with extinction. Here are 10 of the coolest and most interesting sharks.
Cool Sharks Facts
The 1975 film Jaws changed the thinking on cool sharks around the globe. The general public became frightened of sharks when the reality is that they prefer to steer clear of humans, they’re not serial killers. Sharks have always been vilified in the media. But actually, they’re pretty amazing.
Cool sharks (and their close relative, rays, which also have gills on their sides) are fish that have no skeleton. Instead, their bodies are covered in calcified cartilage, similar to the upper auricles. They replace their teeth when they fall out.
Even more fascinating is their ability to detect electrical activity. They have some of the most sensitive electromagnetic detections in the world. If you had a battery in the Atlantic off the coast of New York, a shark could sense it as far as England if there was no other movement in the water, which is hypothetically impossible.
They pick up interference in magnetic fields generated by motion (just as you create an electric field every time you move) by using jelly-filled sensors known as ampoules. These allow them to find food and navigate thousands of miles of water.
Some may think things haven’t changed in 400 million years. But that’s not true at all. Cool sharks are actually quite diverse. Some species are as different from each other as whales from bats.
Shark habitats range from the deepest depths of the ocean to the surface, favouring salty waters over freshwater rivers. We hope more people will see sharks for what they are: top predators that are vital in keeping the ocean’s food web in balance. Not fearsome and dangerous creatures that are a threat to humans.
We need to protect their prey from the proliferation of the sea and the destabilisation of ecosystems. Conservation means more sharks in ocean waters, but that doesn’t mean more people are stopping killing cool sharks.
More cool sharks in the water will offer more opportunities to study them. Currently, most studies are done to observe sharks when they come to the surface, or to visit them underwater for a short time. Much like bees do when they land on a particular flower for a few minutes.
Being able to study cool sharks is not only good for sharks, but also for us humans, because sharks live in so many different places, and we believe that they can adapt very well to their environment, which means that their genomes, which have brought us advances in modern medicine, are very adaptable.
In order to celebrate these glorious creatures, we have shared 10 of our top cool sharks species with you!
1. Bull Shark
Bull Shark Description
The bull shark is such a cool shark. The name bull shark comes from the stocky shape, the wide, flat muzzle and the aggressive and unpredictable behavior of these cool sharks. Their wide range and varied habitats have led to many other local names including:
- Ganges River Shark
- Fitzroy Creek Whaler
- Van Rooyens Shark
- Lake Nicaragua Shark
- River Shark
- Freshwater Whaler
- River Estuary Swan
- River Whale Young Shark
- Bull Shark
In India, bull sharks are sometimes mistaken for Sundarbans or Ganges sharks. In Africa, they are called Zambezi river sharks or Sambi.
Bull Shark Habitat & Distribution
The bull shark (Carcharhinus leucas), also known as Zambezi shark (Sambi, Africa) and Nicaragua shark (Nicaragua Requiem shark), occurs in warm, shallow waters off the coastlines of rivers. This cool shark is known for its aggressive nature.
It is present in warmer, shallower, brackish freshwater systems, including estuaries and rivers. Bull sharks feed on salt and freshwater and travel along rivers. They are known to travel as far as the Mississippi River near Alton, Illinois, about 1,100 miles from the ocean.
Unlike river sharks (genus Glyphis), bull sharks are not real freshwater sharks, but they can survive in freshwater habitats. Very few human-shark interactions have been recorded in freshwater. Large-scale bull sharks are responsible for the majority of shark attacks nearshore, including many bites attributed to other species.
Bull sharks cruise in the shallows and warm waters of the oceans. They join their famous cousins, the Great White shark and Tiger sharks as the three species of most likely to attack humans. Because of these characteristics, many experts consider the bull shark to be the most dangerous of all cool sharks in the world.
Bull Shark Diet
As agile predators, they eat everything they see, including fish, dolphins and other cool sharks. But people are not on their menu.
Bull Shark Conservation
Bull sharks are still being fished for meat, fins and oil, therefore their numbers are quickly dwindling.
2. Great Hammerhead Shark
Great Hammerhead Shark Description
The great hammerhead shark (Sphyrna mokarran) is a cool shark because it is the largest hammerhead shark in the Sphyrnidae family, with an average length of 4.6 m and a maximum length of 6.1 m. This species made it to our cool sharks list as it differs from other hammerheads in the shape of its hammer, called the head wing. The head has a broad, straight front edge, and has a high sickle-shaped first dorsal fin.
Adults have a smooth hammerhead-shaped cephalopod with a straight front edge in contrast to an arch and pronounced medial and lateral indentations. The streamlined body of the large hammerhead with slightly extended stone head halo foil is typical for hammerhead sharks. The width of the expanded halogen film is 23-27% of the body length.
The teeth are triangular and serrated and become oblique at the corners of the mouth. There are seventeen teeth in a row on either side of the maxilla, two to three teeth on the symphysis (midline of the jaw) and 16 to 17 teeth on both sides of the mandible, one to three teeth on the symphysis.
The first dorsal fin is characteristic with a high sickle-shape, which comes from the insertion of the pectoral fin. The pelvic fin is also sickle-shaped with a concave posterior edge, which contrasts with the edge of the pelvic fin of the curved hammerhead. The second dorsal fin, the anal fin, has a large, deep notch at the rear edge.
The skin is covered on the spot with skin identification marks. The denticles are diamond-shaped with three to five horizontal ridges leading to rim teeth that are 5 or 6 in smaller individuals, but normally only six in larger ones.
A typical large hammerhead is at least 3.5 m long and weighs 230 kg, with a maximum of 4.6 m. The fin is intact in adults, but the tip of the second dorsal fin is darker in adolescents. Large hammer heads are dark brown to light gray to olive, with a faded white underside. The large hammerheads occur in tropical and warm temperate waters and inhabit coastal areas along the continental shelf.
The longest hammerhead was measured at 6.1 m. While only a small percentage of the population is female, the largest was a 4.4 m long and 580 kg heavy female caught off Boca Grande, Florida, in 2006. The weight of the female was due to the fact that she was pregnant.
Great Hammerhead Shark Diet
Observations of this species in the wild suggest that the hammer likes to hunt stingrays, a preferred prey. Lonesome, strong, and floating predators feed on a variety of prey ranging from crustaceans, stone-headed halopods, bony fish, and smaller sharks. Like other hammerheads, they have long serrated teeth. The heads are equipped with electrical receptors to detect potential prey and hide in the sand. Large hammerheads were observed using the sides of their heads to pin down stingrays to feed on their wings.
They do not hunt prey larger than rays. Due to their size, they do not prey on other marine animals. However, they can be caught by fishing their valuable fins with longlines, bottom trawls, gillnets and hook lines. They are very vulnerable to overfishing.
Great Hammerhead Shark Reproduction
The species has a viviparous reproductive mode and gives birth to up to 55 cubs every two years. The hammerhead shark mates through internal fertilization and gives birth to living cubs. They have a faster growth rate than other hammerhead species and reach maturity at the age of 5 to 9 years. They are hunted by larger shark species such as the great hammerhead shark, for which they can live up to 44 years.
Great Hammerhead Shark Human Interaction
Although they are vicious predators, they rarely attack people. It behaves well with divers and is treated with respect.
Great Hammerhead Shark Conservation
The great hammerhead is a fish that is valuable on Asian markets due to its large fins and is the main ingredient of shark fin soup. As a result, the hammerhead population is declining and was declared by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 2019 as critically endangered.
Due to the size of its fins, the great hammerhead is threatened by global shark finning. More than 90 percent of the great hammerheads die before they are caught in targeted and casual fishing. The high mortality rate in their coastal habitat and the value of fins make them at risk of extinction.
3. Bronze Whaler Shark
The Bronze Whaler Shark (Carcharhinus brachyurus), also known as the Copper shark or Narrow Tooth shark, is of the family Carcharlinidae and is a cool shark. It is the only member of its type, that occurs in temperate climates. It is widespread, with a number of separate populations in areas such as the:
- Northeast Atlantic
- Southwest Atlantic
- Southern Africa
- Northwest and Eastern Pacific
- New Zealand
- Scattered reports in equatorial regions
Bronze Whaler Shark Description
The Bronze Whaler shark is a large species that grows up to 33 m (11ft) long and is often difficult to distinguish from other larger requiem sharks. It grows slowly, with males and females only reaching maturity at the age of 13-19 (2.0–2.4 m, 6.6–7.9 ft, for males) and 19-20 (2.3–2.5 m, 7.5–8.2 ft, for females).
Bronze Whaler Sharks have a slender, streamlined body with a domed head profile. The muzzle has long pointed nostrils that precede a lower skin lobe. Round, large eyes are equipped with nictating membranes and a protective third eyelid.
The mouth is short with fine furrows at the corners and contains 29-35 upper rows and 29-33 lower rows of teeth. The teeth are lined with a single narrow canine and the upper teeth have a characteristic hook shape that is angled at the corner of the jaw while the lower teeth stand upright.
The upper teeth are long, narrow, curved and jagged in adult males, as well as in adult females and young. The pectoral fin is large, pointed and crescent-shaped. The first dorsal fin is high and points to the apex, with a concave trace at the edge of its origin, which lies at the tip of the pectoral fin. The second dorsal fin has a smaller, lower position than the anal fin. Five pairs of gills are slits, each about half as long.
The tail fluke develops a lower lobe and a deep abdominal notch at the top of the upper lobe. There are no ridges on the dorsal fin. The species is bronze to olive grey with a metallic sheen or a pink cast and darkens towards the edge of the fin tip, but does not fade to matte grey or brown when it dies.
The underside is white and extends in a distinctive band down the flank. It can be confused with other large Carcharhinus species, such as the dusky shark (C. obscurus), which can be identified by its upper tooth shape, weak or missing interdorsal ridge and lack of obvious fin markings.
Bronze Whaler Shark Habitat & Distribution
It can be found in brackish rivers and estuaries, shallow bays and harbours, and off the coast in waters 100 metres or deeper. Females are found almost all year round without males and go on seasonal migrations.
It is characterized by its narrow, hook-shaped upper teeth, missing pronounced ridges on the dorsal fins and a simple bronze coloration.
Bronze Whaler Shark Diet
The Bronze Whaler Shark feeds on cephalopods, bony fish and other cartilaginous fish. It is a floating predator known to hunt in large groups and use their numbers to its advantage, although they remain lonely most of the time.
Bronze Whaler Shark Reproduction
Like other requiem sharks, it is viviparous and develops embryos that feed on placental compounds formed from exhausted yolks and sacks. The females bear 7 to 24 puppies every year in the coastal breeding areas, with a pregnancy of 12 to 21 months.
Bronze Whaler Shark Conservation
The population size of the species is unknown but the IUCN red list has it as vulnerable. The Bronze Whaler Shark is vulnerable to population decimation due to its low growth and reproductive rate, and its numbers are likely to decline in some areas.
The species is highly valued in commercial and recreational fisheries as its range can be used for food.
Bronze Whaler Sharks rarely attack humans and rank tenth in the number of unprovoked attacks on humans.
4. Epaulette Shark
Epaulette Sharks are cool sharks because of their looks. They are less than 1 m long, have a slender body, a short head and wide fins. The small marked cool shark is a very interesting animal. Its slender body allows easy navigation through the intricacies of coral reefs, where it feeds on invertebrates. The common name for this species derives from the large black spots on the body and the pectoral fins, which resemble military epaulettes. He can swim, but most of his movement is achieved by moving with several of his fins.
Epaulette Shark Description
Adults are light brown above, with blurred lines and scattered dark spots, while adolescents alternate between light and dark bands that fade with age. Its colouring serves for camouflage against predators.
Epaulette Shark Habitat & Distribution
They occur along the south coast of New Guinea to the east and west coasts of Australia south of Sydney. Larger populations have been observed in the ibex and bunker groups of the Great Barrier Reef. They occur in shallow waters with a maximum depth of about 50 m.
They can be observed in tidal pools, coral plains and small coral outcrops.
Epaulette Shark Diet
They feed on opportunistic predators such as crustaceans, worms and small fish. Feeding usually takes place between sunrise and sunset, although it can take place at any time.
Smelling (electroreceptive) senses help find hidden prey that is swallowed by sand and other debris ejected from gill slits. Shells of prey such as crustaceans are crushed by small triangular teeth.
Epaulette Shark Reproduction
Mating with wild Epaulette Sharks takes place between July and December, with the female initiating copulation. It lays eggs between August and December; it can produce 20 to 50 eggs a year, two at a time, in 14 days.
Eggs measure 10 cm to 4 cm young, which hatch after 120 to 130 days and are 14 to 16 cm long. Males and females mature at the age of 7 years and 54 to 64 cm long.
Epaulette Shark Conservation
The IUCN considers the species in the waters of Papua New Guinea to be Near Threatened, where habitat destruction, fishing and harmful fishing practices have brought the species to an endangered status. In Australia, the species’ habitat is protected in marine protected areas, but it has little commercial interest in the rest of its distribution.
There are smaller collections for the aquarium trade, but they have little impact. The species can acclimatise in captivity and has been observed breeding in local aquariums.
5. Blacknose Shark
The Blacknose Shark (Carcharhinus acronotus) belongs to the family Carcharhinidae, which occurs in tropical and subtropical waters of the western Atlantic. Its common name derives from the characteristic cool black spot on the tip of the snout, although this characteristic is indistinct in older individuals.
Blacknose Shark Description
The Blacknose Shark measures about 1.3 m and has the typical streamlined shape of a requiem shark. It has a long, round snout with large eyes and a small first dorsal fin. It lives in coastal seagrass meadows, sand and debris, with adults preferring deeper waters more than the young.
Blacknose Sharks feed on small bony fish and cephalopods, which in turn fall victim to larger sharks.
The Blacknose Shark looks like a cool shark because they have a slender, streamlined body, a long, round snout and large, large eyes.
The first dorsal fin is small and sickle-shaped with a pointed vertex and a short free-needle rear tip whose origin lies between the free back tips of the pectoral fin. The teeth are triangular or oblique, with serrated edges on the upper teeth and thicker ones on the lower teeth.
12-13 and 11-12 rows of teeth occur on the sides of the upper and lower jaw, with one or two teeth in the middle. Five pairs of short gills are slotted and measure about a third of the length of the fin base. At the front of the nostrils, skin lobes form that define the inlet and outlet openings.
The second dorsal fin is slightly larger, but less high than the first. The pectoral fins are short and slightly tapered. The body is covered with dermal denticles overlapping, which carry five to seven longitudinal ridges of which three are run in younger individuals by three to five marginal teeth. There are no ridges on the dorsal fins.
The coloration is yellowish-greenish-gray, brown, white or yellow. The tips of the second dorsal fin, the upper tail fluke and the lower tail fluke are dark. A distinctive dark stain on the tip of the snout is evident in young sharks.
The maximum length and weight were measured at 20 m and 189 kg. The Blacknose Shark is 13-14 m long and 10 kg heavy.
Blacknose Shark Reproduction
In contrast to other family members, they exhibit viviparous reproduction, in which the developing embryo is maintained by a placenta connection. The females bring to the world three to six puppies in the late spring and early summer. The gestation period lasts eight to eleven months.
Blacknose Shark Conservation
This cool shark is not known to attack humans, although it has been documented to carry out threat notices for divers.
In 2009, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that the Blacknose Shark population in the United States was overfished and proposed new conservation measures. It is of moderate commercial and recreational importance.
In Mexico, the species is consumed in the Campeche area to create a regional dish called pan de cazón. Blacknose Sharks are used for sport fishing because they can be caught during the season when larger sharks are sparse. However, this is considered to be of little interest in the United States.
The highest cause of death is by-catch in the US shrimp fishery, which may be overfished. Population trends off the coasts of countries such as Brazil, the United States and the Caribbean show a decline in the fishery that catches large adults. As a result, the Blacknose Shark has been placed in the endangered category and is being monitored for further decline.
6. Spinner Shark
The Spinner Shark (Carcharhinus brevipinna) is a type of requiem shark from the Carcharhinidae family and is a such a cool shark. It is named after the spinning or jumping it does as part of its feeding strategy. It occurs in tropical and warm temperate waters of the eastern Pacific. It occurs in coastal and offshore habitats at a depth of 100 m (330 ft), but prefers shallower waters.
Spinner Shark Description
It resembles a larger version of the Blacktip Shark (C. limbatus) with a slender body, long muzzle and black fins. It reaches a maximum length of about 3 m. It differs from its parent species in the first dorsal fin, which has a slightly different shape and has a black tip on the anal fin in adults.
The Indo-Pacific sharks are the largest in the Northwest Atlantic. This species has a slender, streamlined body with a distinctive long, pointed muzzle. The eyes are small and round and long. The average spinner shark is about 2 m long and weighs 56 kg, but spinner sharks can reach a known length and weight of up to 3 m and 90 kg.
The teeth are long and narrow, with central cuspids that are serrated on the upper jaw and smooth on the lower jaw. The teeth are numbered in rows of 15-18, with half in the upper jaw, 14-17 in the half of the lower jaw and two or one tiny symphysial central tooth. The most prominent point is a furrow at the corner of the mouth. Five pairs of gills are slits that are very long.
The body is covered with diamond-shaped skin marks, seven to five of which are flat horizontal ridges. The pectoral fins are short, narrow, wrinkled and sickle-shaped. Ridges exist on the first and second dorsal fins. The first dorsal fin is small and originates from the free rear tip.
The spinner shark differs from the blacktip shark in that its first dorsal fin is triangular and sits close to the body. The coloration is gray with a bronze gloss and weak white ribbons on the sides. Young individuals are intact, but the notch of the second dorsal fin, the pectoral fin, the anal fin, the lower tail-fin lobe are black, especially with larger individuals. Adults can be recognized by the black tip of the anal fin.
Spinner Shark Diet
The spinner shark is a cool shark because it is a fast, sociable predator that feeds on a variety of small bony fish and cephalopods. After feeding on a shoal of fish, they race away from the fish, spin around their axes and eventually break out into the water.
Spinner Shark Reproduction
Like other members of its family, the Spinner Shark is viviparous. The females carry litters of three to twenty puppies each year. The young are born in shallow breeding areas close to the coast and grow up fast.
Unlike other shark species, the spinner shark is viviparous and gives birth to live cubs. The average litter size is 3 to 15 puppies and migrates to shallower estuaries where there is more food and less predators. It is said that the smallest spinner sharks are found in the Atlantic, but the populations of spinner sharks in the Indo-Western Pacific are growing. Spinner sharks grow six to ten metres long in adulthood and grow two centimetres a year from maturity to the age of 10 to 20.
Spinner Shark Habitat & Distribution
The Spinner shark lives in subtropical waters in the:
- The Atlantic
- Gulf of Mexico
- South America
- Indo-Western Pacific
- Red Sea
They are not deep-sea swimmers and prefer coastal and offshore waters that are more than 350 feet deep. Juvenile spinner sharks can move in shallow bays during tides. In the Northwest Atlantic, subpopulations are known as migratory sharks, which form groups of several individuals that cross the coasts of Florida and Louisiana and the Gulf and reproduce and feed in spring and summer.
Spinner Shark Conservation
The International Union for Conservation of Nature classifies the spinner shark as endangered. Spinner sharks are highly prized in commercial fisheries for their variety of meat, fins, liver, oil and skin. They are also appreciated by recreational fishermen as strong fighters.
The spinner sharks are not dangerous to humans, but can become aggressive if they are aroused by food.
The spinner shark is now on the IUCN Red List due to fishing pressure. Spinner sharks are targeted by commercial fishermen in the southeastern United States and the Gulf of Mexico. The meat caught by spinner sharks is sold under the name blacktip shark, but the two species are often considered interchangeable, meaning that catches of the species are not reported. The dried fins of these sharks are sent to the Far East, where they are processed into shark fin soup, a traditional delicacy of parts of Asia.
7. Pyjama Shark
The Pyjama Shark (Poroderma africanum) is a cool shark that belongs to the family of Scyliorhinidae and is native to the coastal waters of South Africa. These abundant species live in tidal zones at a depth of 100 m in rocky reefs and kelp beds. With a series of thick parallel dark stripes running across their powerful bodies, they have a distinctive look.
Pyjama Shark Description
The Pyjama Shark looks like a cool shark because it is characterized by a short head and snout, a pair of slim barbels that do not reach the mouth and two dorsal fins placed close to the body. This cool shark is nocturnal and spends most of the day motionless in caves, crevices and vegetation. It can grow up to 11 m long.
When threatened, it will curl up into a circle with its tail covering its head. It forms groups in summer.
The pyjama shark has the largest and thickest body of the two Poroderma species and grows up to 1.1 m long and weighs 79 kg or more. Both sexes grow up to the same maximum size.
Their head and muzzle are short and flattened, viewed from above they have a parabolic outline. The nostrils are divided into tiny, incurable and exact openings, and in the front there is a skin lobe; this lobe is three-lobed, the middle lobe forming a long conical barb. The barbel is thicker than that of a leopard cat shark, but does not reach the mouth.
The attractive mouth forms a broad arch with a short furrow that extends from the corner of the upper jaw to the lower jaw and exposes the upper teeth when the mouth is closed. The teeth are slender, with a central tip, flanked by a pair of small canines, and adult males are thicker than females.
There are 18 to 25 (14 to 24) teeth in rows on either side of the jaw. The eyes are oval and placed close to the head and have a rudimentary, nictating membrane and a protective third eyelid with thick, transverse ridges.
There are two dorsal fins, the first from the back of the pelvic fin and the second from the middle of the anal fin. The first fin is slightly larger than the second. The body is compressed from side to side and tapered at the tail.
The pectoral fins are large and wide. The pelvic fins are slightly lower than the pectoral fins, but their bases are about the same length. In adult males, there is a pair of short, thick clamps at the inner edge of the pelvic fins, which fused together to form an apron. The short, wide tail fins are indistinct at the lower lobe and have ventral notches at the tip of the upper lobe.
The dorsal coloration is characteristic and consists of 5-7 thick parallel dark stripes, which run from the muzzle to the tail stalk on a variable gray-brownish background; the stripes are broken open at tail and stomach. The main stripe of these cool sharks on the side of the fork above the eyes is the same, but divided into two light centerlines with a large dark spot. The underside is pale to light gray, with some spots delimiting the flank color.
The skin is thick and carries calcified skin denticles with a denticle-shaped crown with three rear points on short stems. Albino specimens have also been recorded in False Bay. Young sharks resemble adults with light or dark stripes.
Pyjama Shark Diet
It is an opportunistic predator that feeds on a variety of fish and invertebrates, but prefers cephalopods and visits spawning grounds for cuttlefish (Loligo reynaudi).
Pyjama sharks are cool sharks because they are nocturnal, hunt at night and rest in caves and crevices during the day. Whereas many other cool sharks use their saws and teeth to cut prey, they perform a spinning manoeuvre like a crocodile death roll to stun their prey before dragging it down and dismembering it.
Pyjama Shark Reproduction
The reproduction takes place ovoid, with the female laying rectangular, dark brown oocytes twice per year.
These cool sharks are oviparous, meaning they reproduce by laying eggs supported by egg yolks and bags left unattended on the seabed. The eggs are held by long twisted tendrils that become entangled in rocks and kelp.
Pyjama sharks reach a length of about 0.8 m. The females produce eggs once a year and lay two eggs each. The eggs hatch in five months or longer and produce up to 1.5 cm long young.
Pyjama Shark Conservation
The small, cool sharks are caught by bycatch in commercial and recreational fisheries. Many are killed by fishermen who regard them as pests. The data suggest that their numbers are declining, but the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) rates them as the least worrying. They adapt well to captivity and are often exhibited in public aquariums.
The primary threat to the pyjama shark is overfishing. Pyjama sharks are not normally caught in fisheries, but they occur as bycatch in a variety of commercial and recreational fisheries, such as longlines, gillnets, beach nets and trawls.
These cool sharks was declared a banned commercial species in South Africa in 2005. Pyjama shark populations are expected to increase, with the IUCN classifying them as the least of concern. The shark is also in the sights of the aquarium trade. If the shark is discarded after being caught, it suffers persecution as it is considered an annoying and harmful species and a fish to be killed and discarded.