Sharks – Best Known Species

Although there are hundreds upon hundreds of different shark species, there are a handful of these fish that are better known amongst marine ‘laymen’. The majority of these are known for their attacks, size or unique physical attributes. Some of the best known shark species are:

1.The Great White Shark
This is one of the better known sharks, primarily for its larger population numbers and expansive habitat, as well as the fact that it has frequently been found to be guilty of attacks on human beings swimming or surfing in the sea. It is found in all the major oceans, and averages a length of about four to six metres, with an impressive weight of over 2200 kilograms.

2.The Ragged Tooth Shark
This shark is known as the Grey Nurse Shark in Australia (not to be confused with the Nurse Shark) and the Sand Tiger Shark in the United States of America and the United Kingdom. The Raggie, as it is affectionately known in South Africa, prefers coastal waters. It seems fearsome because of its size and name, but it is a relatively peaceful shark, only attacking if provoked.

3.The Tiger Shark
This species of shark differs from its peers in that it has earned a reputation for eating a wide range of animals and even inanimate objects. They reach approximately 4.5 metres and prefer the temperate and tropical ocean waters to the very chilly ones. Because of its lack of discernment regarding food as well as its prevalence in coastal waters, the Tiger Shark is one of the most dangerous ones for humans and has been responsible for several attacks.

4.The Nurse Shark
Nurse Sharks favour shallow temperate waters and can be found skating along the bottom of the ocean, on sand flats or on a reef in search of food. They reach an average length of about 4.3 metres and weigh only about 150 kilograms.

5.The Whale Shark
This shark is the largest fish alive today and measures an astounding average of over 12.5 metres. Fortunately, this mammoth specimen feeds only on plankton and tiny fish through a filter system (similar to the baleen plates found in whales). These sharks opt for warmer waters and live in the open ocean, not entering shallower coastal areas.

6.The Bull Shark
This is also known as the Zambezi Shark and is known as being unpredictable and aggressive, even towards human beings. It is responsible for many of the attacks and fatalities recorded each year and is recognised as people’s greatest threat in terms of shark attacks. The Bull Shark is found in warm, shallow waters and can live in both freshwater and saltwater environments. This increases the threat as they are able to enter rivers and lakes as well.

7.The Hammerhead Shark
Hammerheads can be found in shallow waters all over the world and reach an average length of anywhere between 0.9 and 6 metres. They have earned their name because of the flattened protrusions out of either side of their head, giving their entire head a flattened, hammer-like appearance.

8.The Blue Shark
This animal prefers the deep, cooler waters of tropical and temperate oceans and is famous for its migratory behaviour. They move slowly ( although they are capable of faster bursts of motion, if required) and give birth to fairly large litters of between 25 and 100 pups at a time.

9.The Mako Shark
The Mako Sharks are divided into Shortfin and Longfin varieties, which vary in length between about 2.7 to 4.5 metres. These sharks are in the same family as the Great White Shark and are also fairly aggressive.