The Gulf of Mexico is on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, bounded mostly by the North American zone. It is a place of power as well as beauty, and sharks love it; in fact, they are incredibly common in this area. With its mild waters and vibrant aquatic life, the Gulf of Mexico is a haven for sharks and other sea life. Thus, it remains no secret that there will be a variety of sharks in the Gulf of Mexico. Saving you time, let us get you to know the species you have a good chance to see in this area.
What species of sharks live in the Gulf of Mexico?
Sharks found in the Gulf of Mexico come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from fast-moving spinner sharks to slow-moving whale sharks, from small to big, and many others. It is believed that over 50 different species of sharks are found in the Gulf of Mexico, and many of them include migrating sharks. However, the species commonly present in the area include the following.
1: Bull Sharks
If you aren’t able to spot great whites in the Gulf of Mexico, you have a very good chance to see the other most dangerous shark species known as the bull shark. As they prefer shallow coastal waters, they are more likely to interact with humans, though shark attacks are rare.
A slow swimmer can breathe while at rest and can grow to about ten feet in length; you may be amazed to know bull sharks are the only sharks that can live and thrive both in freshwater and saltwater.
2: Hammerhead Sharks
The hammerhead shark is characterized by its unique physiology and distinctive head structure with flattened sides and a hammer-shaped shape. The Gulf of Mexico is abode to several hammerhead sharks. They feed on stingrays, crabs, and fishes and can be found in shallow bays as well as offshore.
3: Nurse Sharks
The nurse shark is a bottom dweller with a huge number of serrated teeth. It normally swims away when approached, but it can bite humans back with its strong jaws. Oceans with humid and subtropical coastlines, especially the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific, often have nurse sharks on their reefs. Following a hunt for food, they repeatedly return to certain resting areas.
4: Spinner Sharks
Spinner sharks are among the Gulf of Mexico’s most common sharks, and people from all across come to visit because of their acrobatic leaps out of the water. Spinner sharks hunt small schools of fish by spinning through bait balls, all while swimming upward with their mouths wide open. It turns out to be worth the experience.
5: Blacktip Sharks
An abundant species in the Northern Gulf of Mexico coastal waters; it is common to tropical and subtropical waters around the world. They are fast, sleek, and usually wary of humans but can become aggressive when a food source is present. Blacktip sharks have attacked several people as a result.
6: Atlantic sharpnose shark
In comparison to other sharks, Atlantic sharpnose sharks are fairly small. Their maximum length is estimated to be 3.9 feet. The juveniles of this species have black edges on their dorsal and caudal fins, which makes them easy to identify. They are present in large numbers in the Gulf of Mexico.
7: Lemon shark
Lemon sharks can reach a maximum length of 11 feet and are non-aggressive, not likely to bite unless provoked. Known to thrive in groups, lemon sharks prefer to be social, and congregate only in special breeding grounds for reproduction.
8: Thresher sharks
Despite being active predators, thresher sharks are solitary animals which prefer to stay on their own. Sharks such as the thresher are known to jump fully out of the water and make turns like dolphins with their long tails. Although they are often seen in the Gulf of Mexico, the thresher shark is not dangerous to humans and is doubtful to dose them.
9: Whale sharks
While whale sharks make the largest species of sharks in today’s time with a maximum size of about 60 feet, they are quite friendly to humans. Whale sharks are the filter feeder sharks, meaning, they feed primarily on plankton. They are also seen largely in the region of the Gulf of Mexico.
Shark attacks in the Gulf of Mexico
It is not uncommon for the presence of sharks in abundance to be accompanied by fear. It is actually a matter of concern for people who fear sharks as to whether or not they should be visiting the Gulf of Mexico.
Sharks are mysterious and yet the most fascinating creatures, and they shouldn’t be something you should be afraid of, but careful. Although sharks are prevalent in the Gulf of Mexico, attacks by sharks are surprisingly uncommon. It is unlikely that sharks will attack you if you do not harbor malice toward them.
The amazing creatures of the sea, the Gulf of Mexico, provides you the opportunity to get close and learn the behavior and habitat of a number of different shark species from the largest whale sharks to the smaller species such as Atlantic Sharpnose. There is no way to predict what you will see when you come, but you will definitely have an unforgettable and mesmeric experience to see such a wide variety.