What Shark Species are in Hawaii

Sharks have contributed to Hawaii’s booming ecotourism by making it a popular tourist destination, and why shouldn’t it be when Hawaii is home to around 40 different species of sharks. However, one wonders what shark species are in Hawaii as we have over 500 kinds of sharks in all over the world’s oceans. 

When it comes to sharks, you have a wide-ranging diversity of species, all from small to large, having distinct features and attributes. Every species of shark is distinct from the others, and having a glimpse of any type is a truly memorable experience. With that also comes the endangered species, which can hardly be seen. But if you are in Hawaii, you have a good chance to see about 40 different forms of sharks.

As we move forward, you can check out how many different types of sharks are there, and you will have an idea. Some people often think that Hawaii has shark-infested waters, do check out here if it’s true or not.

Since now we know the number of shark species that can be found in Hawaii, let’s talk about the most common ones and what their attributes are.

Common sharks species in Hawaii

Most people go to Hawaii hoping to snorkel and swim in their beautiful waters along with sharks, and no doubt you have a good chance to see a variety of sharks in Hawaii. Below we are going to see what kind of shark species you can see around Hawaii’s waters.

The tiger shark

Tiger sharks are aggressive predators widely renowned for eating just about whatever they can get their mouth on, including trash and even other sharks. As far as human attacks are concerned, tiger sharks have attacked more humans than any other shark, except the great white, but they mostly attack when provoked.

Talking about their size, they are said to reach a length of 10 to 15 feet long, having a weight of around 1000 to 1400 pounds. As a result of humans’ use of fins and fishing, tiger sharks are considered a near-threatened species. When in Hawaii, you have a good chance to encounter tiger sharks, so stay alert and be safe.

Blacktip shark

These sharks aren’t considered in general to be harmful to humans, but they can become aggressive when hunting for food. A variety of marine life, such as octopus, fishes, and squid, are eaten by these sharks. They may also occasionally consume crustaceans.

Its name comes from the fact that it is gray with black tips on its dorsal and pectoral fins. Mostly found in shallow waters, blacktip sharks are present in Hawaii in good numbers, so you may have a glaze when visiting Hawaii.

Whitetip reef sharks

Small in size, the whitetip reef sharks aren’t considered a threat to humans as they are not aggressive in nature; however, they might come close and inspect the divers. Coral reefs are the fish’s favorite habitat since they live in shallow waters.

Having a small size, they are able to get into the narrow holes and access prey that are difficult to get to for other sharks. The diet mainly includes bony fish, crustaceans, lobsters, octopuses, and crabs.

Aside from humans, they are often targeted by large size sharks.

Scalloped Hammerhead shark

A hammerhead shark is an aggressive predator that feeds on smaller fish, squid, octopuses, and crustaceans; they don’t actively seek out human prey but are very violent when incited.

Scalloped Hammerhead Sharks live off the coast of Hawaii and in tropical waters worldwide. Hammerhead sharks are notable for their flat, hammer-shaped heads, but humans continue to target them for their meat and oil.

The scalloped hammerhead is a generalist and devious predator, feeding on nearly anything that is available and abundant nearby; however, they prefer reef fishes, small sharks, squid, rays, and octopuses.

Sandbar sharks

Sandbar sharks are among the largest coastal sharks in the world, but regrettably, they are also among the most heavily hunted by humans, as they have large fins, so their body parts are often taken for use in shark fin soup.

Though Sandbars can reach a length of 8 feet, they are not considered to be dangerous to humans despite their size and similar appearance to bull sharks.

Aside from these 5 common species of sharks, Hawaii is home to many other species, including the most aggressive, the Galapagos shark, the gray reef shark, the bignose shark, and the smooth hammerhead shark. The rest of the names can be gotten from here.


Sharks are an important part of our ecosystem, and when you want to have an experience with them, Hawaii is a good place to go. As many as 40 species of sharks can be seen in Hawaii; however, you must keep in mind to deal with them with respect and care. Though shark attacks are not common in Hawaii, if provoked, any shark can be dangerous.

About the author

Yumna Ahmad

An experienced content writer, photographer, and avid reader amazed by the sea world and its creatures. I am lettin people become fascinated with the ocean planet through my writings.