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Most Dangerous Sharks - Shark Attacks

Updated on July 24, 2014

Sharks: Basic Info

The earliest known shark was alive over 420 million years ago. Since that period in time sharks have grown into more than 470 diverse shark species. Some of the species of shark are as small as 6 inches and others as large as 39 feet. Sharks are known to live in both deep ocean waters and shallow ocean waters. However, the majority of shark species are restricted to bodies of salt water. With that being said there have been occurrences of certain species of sharks, such as the Bull Shark, being found in bodies of freshwater, such as rivers.

Some of the most ancient shark remains have been found in Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee. 340 million years ago these states were covered with shallow ocean water, and some of the oldest shark fossils have been found in the soft sedimentary rock in these states. The sharks from millions of years ago looked very different from the sharks we have today. The sharks around today didn't begin to appear until about 100 million years ago.


One of the most well known extinct sharks is the Megalodon shark. The Megalodon shark lived 28 to 1.5 million years ago. It could grow to be as long as 52 feet long. It most resembled the Great White Shark but was much stockier. Most current species of sharks live to from 20 - 30 years.


Sharks have many rows of teeth which are constantly replaced by new teeth when one falls out. Some sharks can loose as many as 30,000 teeth in their lifetimes. This is the reason why so many shark teeth fossils have been discovered. A shark's sense of smell is highly keen and a shark can detect as little as one part per million of blood in seawater. Sharks are also able to detect electrical currents in the water being released from their prey. All of these things make sharks the perfect killing machines.

Shark Do Attack... Sometimes

Yes, it may be true that some sharks have attacked and even killed humans. However, the majority of sharks do not bother humans and the ones who have attacked humans have done it from a case of mistaken identity. Many times when a shark attacks a human, it misidentifies the human as a seal or sea lion. Many times when a shark attacks a human it will take an initial bite and realize that the prey they have bitten or attacked is not their prey and leave the human alone. However, a shark's jaws are very strong and their teeth are like hundreds of seriated knives cutting through a human's flesh. So often this initial bite does irreparable damage to the human body.

There are millions of people who swim in the ocean daily, however, there are only a small number of shark attacks. The chances of being attacked are very slim and minimal at most. However, humans are depleting the oceans of the various shark species living in our bodies of salt water and they need our protection. The oceans are being polluted, sharks are being fished, and the sharks food sources are dwindling. This is causing populations of sharks to become very low.

The List of the Most Dangerous Sharks

The list below includes basic information about each shark and the number of unprovoked attacks and unprovoked fatalities according to the International Shark Attack Files from the years 1580 - 2013.

Nurse Shark
Nurse Shark

# 15 Nurse Shark

10 unprovoked attacks, 0 unprovoked fatalities according to ISAF


Nurse Sharks can be as long as 14 feet long and weigh as much as 730 pounds. This close to shore, bottom dweller shark, usually sticks to the ocean's sandy bottoms. Its common habitat is near reefs, channels, mangrove forests, and sand flats. Nurse Sharks are nocturnal animals and spend most of the day being docile. This shark spends the night hunting solo in the sand for sting rays, crustaceans, and mollusks.

The blue areas represent where Nurse Sharks can be found in the world.
The blue areas represent where Nurse Sharks can be found in the world.
Short Fin Mako
Short Fin Mako

# 14 Short Fin Mako

9 unprovoked attacks, 1 unprovoked fatality according to ISAF


The Short Fin Mako can reach lengths of 10 feet or more in length and weigh as much as 298 pounds. The biggest specimens caught have been over 14 feet long and over 1,300 pounds in weight. The females of this shark species are larger than the males. Short Fin Mako Sharks prefer warmer waters such the Golf Stream waters and prefer to stay further out from shore but can be found time to time close to shore. Short Fin Makos are the fastest shark species reaching speeds up to 46 miles per hour.

The red represents the areas where Short Fin Makos can be found.
The red represents the areas where Short Fin Makos can be found.
Blacktip Reef Shark
Blacktip Reef Shark

# 13 Blacktip Reef Shark

11 unprovoked attacks, 0 unprovoked fatalities according to ISAF


Blacktip Reef Sharks are the most abundant sharks living in the coral reefs. This species of shark prefers shallow waters, reef ledges, and sand flats. The black tip on the sharks dorsal fin is usually the first thing spotted in the water. It also makes it easy to identify the shark. The Blacktip Reef Shark has been assessed as being Near Threatened, because it is fished for its meat, for its use in oils, and soups.

The blue areas represent places where Blacktip Reef Sharks are located.
The blue areas represent places where Blacktip Reef Sharks are located.
Oceanic Whitetip Shark
Oceanic Whitetip Shark

# 12 Oceanic Whitetip Shark

7 unprovoked attacks, 3 unprovoked fatalities according to the ISAF


This sharks has been known to be aggressive especially when in a feeding frenzy mode. This shark is very dangerous to shipwreck or air crash survivors. The Oceanic Whitetip likes the deep and open ocean but prefer water temperatures above 64 degrees Fahrenheit. The most distinguishing characteristic of an Oceanic Whitetip Shark are the white tips on the fins.

The blue areas represent the places where the Oceanic Whitetip Shark can be found.
The blue areas represent the places where the Oceanic Whitetip Shark can be found.
Blue Shark
Blue Shark

# 11 Blue Sharks

9 unprovoked attacks, 4 unprovoked fatalities according to the ISAF


The Blue Shark inhabits areas in the deep ocean, in temperate and tropical waters. The top of the Blue Shark is a deep blue, and becomes lighter on the sides, with the underside of the shark being white. The Blue shark can grow to be 12 feet in length and weigh up to 450 pounds. The Blue Sharks biggest food sources is the squid.

The blue areas represent the places where Blue Sharks can be found.
The blue areas represent the places where Blue Sharks can be found.
Spinner Shark
Spinner Shark

# 10 Spinner Shark

16 unprovoked attacks, 0 unprovoked fatalities according to the ISAF



Spinner Sharks can be found in tropical and warm temperature waters worldwide. The Spinner Shark has a long slender body, a long snout, and black marked fins. The average Spinner Shark is about 6 feet long and weighing 123 pounds. Spinner sharks are highly hunted for their meat, fins, liver oil, and skin. This species of shark has been labeled as Near Threatened and Vulnerable off of the east coast of the USA.

The blue areas represent places where Spinner Sharks can be found.
The blue areas represent places where Spinner Sharks can be found.
Hammerhead Sharks
Hammerhead Sharks

# 9 Hammerhead Shark

17 unprovoked attacks, 0 unprovoked fatalities according to the ISAF


The Hammerhead Shark is one of the most unique and easily identifiable sharks species. The Hammerhead Shark's head is flattened and elongated into a hammer shape. Hammerheads are usually found in warm waters near the coast and continental shelves. Most sharks are solitary animals, however, the Hammerhead Shark is usually found in large schools of fellow Hammerhead Sharks during the day.

The blue areas represent places where Hammerhead Sharks can be found.
The blue areas represent places where Hammerhead Sharks can be found.

# 8 Wobbegong Shark

19 unprovoked attacks, 0 unprovoked fatalities according to the ISAF


The Wobbegong Shark is a carpet shark. It is often found in shallow warm waters in the Western Pacific Ocean and Eastern Indian Ocean. Wobbegong Sharks are bottom dwelling sharks with a distinct beard like growths coming from the mouth area. This species of shark spends most of its time resting on the ocean floor. It can grow to lengths of 4 feet long.

Bronze Whaler
Bronze Whaler

# 7 Bronze Whaler

19 unprovoked attacks, 1 unprovoked fatality according to the ISAF


The Bronze Whaler Shark can reach lengths of 11 feet and weigh as much as 672 pounds. The Bronze Whaler usually prefers shallow waters and is often found in bays and harbors. The shark has narrow hook shaped teeth and is bronze in color.

The dark blue are confirmed areas where Bronze Whalers can be found.  The light blue are areas where scientist believe they can also be found.
The dark blue are confirmed areas where Bronze Whalers can be found. The light blue are areas where scientist believe they can also be found.
Black Tip Shark
Black Tip Shark

# 6 Black Tip Shark

28 unprovoked attacks, 0 unprovoked fatalities according to the ISAF


The Black Tip Shark can be found in tropical and subtropical waters. This species of shark has a short stout and pointed snout. This species also has long gill slits and can grow to lengths of 5 feet long. Black Tip sharks are known to jump out of the ocean water, breaking the surface when hunting prey.

The blue areas represent places where Black Tip sharks can be found.
The blue areas represent places where Black Tip sharks can be found.
Sand Tiger Sharks
Sand Tiger Sharks

# 5 Sand Tiger

29 unprovoked attacks, 0 unprovoked fatalities according to the ISAF


The Sand Tiger sharks inhabits areas near the continental shelves and sandy shorelines. Sand Tiger sharks can also be found near submerged reefs. The Sand Tiger can grow as long as 10 feet in length. The Sand Tiger shark is the most widely kept shark in captivity because of it easy adaptability to tanks.

The blue areas represents places where Sand Tiger sharks can be found.
The blue areas represents places where Sand Tiger sharks can be found.

# 4 Requiem Shark

39 unprovoked attacks, 7 unprovoked fatalities according to the ISAF


Requiem sharks eyes are round and pectoral fins are completely behind the shark's gills. The sharks can be as small as 2 feet and as long as 18 feet.

Bull Shark
Bull Shark

# 3 Bull Shark

67 unprovoked attacks, 26 unprovoked fatalities according to the ISAF


The Bull Shark is also known as the Zambezi Shark because the shark has been found in the Zambezi River. This is one species of shark that has been found in both sea and fresh waters. Bull Sharks have also been found in the Mississippi River. The Bull Shark has a broad and flat snout. The sharks are known for their aggressive and unpredictable nature. A Bull Shark's bite is a force of 1,300 pound per pound bite force, which is one of the highest bite forces for a fish.

The blue areas represent the places where Bull Sharks can be found.
The blue areas represent the places where Bull Sharks can be found.
Tiger Sharks
Tiger Sharks

# 2 Tiger Shark

73 unprovoked attacks, 28 unprovoked fatalities according to the ISAF


Tiger Sharks can reach lengths well over 16 feet and are known as the sea's tiger. The Tiger Shark received its name from the stripes found on its body. Tiger Sharks are often found in tropical and temperate waters. The Tiger Shark is known as a garbage disposal because it often eats inedible manmade objects such as license plates.

The blue areas represent places where Tiger Sharks can be found.
The blue areas represent places where Tiger Sharks can be found.
Great White Shark
Great White Shark

# 1 Great White Shark

201 unprovoked attacks, 78 unprovoked fatalities according to the ISAF


The Great White Shark is probably the most feared shark in the ocean due to movies such as "Jaws." Great White Sharks are known for their large size, growing as long as 21 feet long. Great Whites have been found to weigh over 7,000 pounds. Scientist believe the Great White Shark can live to be 30 years in age and reaches maturity around age 15. The Great White Shark is the apex predator of the sea, only rivaled by the orca.

The blue areas represent places where Great White Sharks can be found.
The blue areas represent places where Great White Sharks can be found.

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