10 Fastest Shark Species In The World

It’s no secret that sharks are some of the most feared predators around. However, as the top predators in the food chain, sharks not only serve as an essential indication of how healthy the ocean is, but they also play a crucial part in the maintenance of the lower species on the food chain.

While most sharks prefer to take their time and slowly swim around, some are capable of genuinely stunning strength and speed and employ them to great use while hunting.

Here are 10 of the fastest shark species in the world.

10. Tiger Shark

Speed: 20 miles per hour
 Habitat/Range: Worldwide; Tropical and subtropical waters
Scientific Name: Galeocerdo cuvier
 Average Lifespan: 12-27 years

Tiger Sharkphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

The tiger shark derives its name from the distinctive vertical bars that cover its flanks. Although these bands decrease significantly as individuals reach maturity, they are highly apparent in adolescents and remain partially visible throughout life.

The tiger shark is the fourth-largest and the second-largest predatory shark after the great white, reaching at least 18 feet (5.5 m) and weighing 2000 pounds (almost a metric ton).

Tiger sharks are notoriously fierce predators that consume virtually anything they can locate or trap. As a result, they consume many different fishes, invertebrates, and even marine mammals, smaller sharks, and scavenged dead animals.

They are frequently fished for their fins, skin, and meat, and their livers are processed into vitamin oil because of their high vitamin A content. Throughout their range, they are classed as near threatened.

Did You Know:

Female tiger sharks carry 10 to 82 embryos and give birth to 30 to 35 pups on average every litter.


9. Hammerhead Shark

Speed: 20 miles per hour
 Habitat/Range: Worldwide; Warm waters
Scientific Name: Sphyrna mokarran
 Average Lifespan: 20-30 years

Hammerhead Sharkphoto source: Flickr

Hammerhead sharks belong to a family of sharks that are distinguished by the peculiar appearance of their heads. These sharks inhabit seas globally, especially warm waters and coastal regions.

Many species of hammerheads, unlike other sharks, are gregarious and swim in schools during the day. However, these schools do not spend the night together because hunting is a solitary activity.

A hammerhead shark traps stingrays by pinning them to the ocean floor with its broad head. The arrangement of the shark’s eyes on each end of its extremely broad head enables it to examine a larger area more swiftly than other sharks. In addition, the hammerhead’s head is equipped with specific sensors that aid in its search for food in the water.

Hammerheads, unlike other fish, do not deposit eggs. Instead, female hammerheads give birth to live babies. A litter can contain between six and fifty puppies.

Did You Know:

Great hammerhead sharks are said to be cannibalistic, consuming members of their species when necessary.


8. Bull Shark

Speed: 25 miles per hour
 Habitat/Range: Worldwide; Tropical waters and shorelines; Can also survive in freshwater
Scientific Name: Carcharhinus leucas
 Average Lifespan: 20-30 years

Bull Sharkphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Bull sharks derive their name from their short, blunt snouts and aggressive nature. Before attacking, they also typically butt victims with their skulls. These sharks are often found in warm coastal seas less than 100 feet (30 meters) deep, although they may swim far up freshwater rivers and inhabit freshwater lakes if they so desire.

They are the third most hazardous sharks to humans, behind the great white and tiger sharks. They have massive, stocky bodies that are rounded and hefty.

Bull sharks are solitary predators that consume various food, such as stingrays, bony fish, dolphins, and even turtles. They are opportunistic feeders and hunt utilizing the “bump and bite” technique. This is when they sniff something to identify it and then bite it to see if it is edible. Bull sharks frequently continue to bump and bite their victim until it becomes too tired or unable to escape.

Did You Know:

They have been observed jumping waterfalls like salmon to reach freshwater lakes.


7. Nurse Shark

Speed: 25 miles per hour
 Habitat/Range: Eastern Pacific and Western Pacific regions; Warm and subtropical waters
Scientific Name: Ginglymostoma cirratum
 Average Lifespan: 20-25 years

Nurse Sharkphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

The nurse shark is one of the most often spotted sharks on coral and rocky reefs in the eastern Pacific Ocean, eastern and western Atlantic Ocean, and the Caribbean Sea.

They are gray-brown and have tail fins that may reach up to a quarter of their whole length. The mouth of a nurse shark is lined with rows of tiny, serrated teeth for crushing tough food. Despite being gentle and generally harmless to people, they have been observed biting in self-defense. In contrast to most other sharks, nurses have a velvety texture.

Did You Know:

Instead of chasing its prey and capturing it in a flurry of teeth, like other sharks, this species swims just above the water floor and vacuums up its meal.


6. Thresher Shark

Speed: 30 miles per hour
 Habitat/Range: Worldwide; Tropical and temperate waters
Scientific Name: Alopias
 Average Lifespan: 19-50 years

Thresher Sharkphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Thresher sharks spend most of their lives in the open ocean’s deep waters, rarely venturing near the coast. To survive in these cooler waters, they’ve acquired endothermism. This indicates that they can maintain a greater body temperature than the surrounding water.

They do this using a specialized heat exchange system, which enables them to store heat generated by internal body activities such as metabolism or muscle shivering.

They primarily consume tuna and mackerel but will occasionally hunt on seabirds. Thresher sharks can swim 30 miles per hour, but they can move their tail up to 80 miles per hour.

Did You Know:

Their distinct look and ability to attain high speeds and leap out of the water make them a favorite game fish.


5. Grey Reef Shark

Speed: 31 miles per hour
 Habitat/Range: Indo-Pacific region; tropical waters and coral reefs
Scientific Name: Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos
 Average Lifespan: 25-28 years

Grey Reef Sharkphoto source: Flickr

Grey reef sharks can sprint up to 31 mph. They inhabit the Indian and Pacific waters at depths under 200 feet. The quickest swimmers in their habitat reside among coral reefs, thus their name. Grey reef sharks are sleek with blunt snouts and no longer than 8.5 feet. They eat mostly octopuses, squid, bony fish, crabs, and lobsters.

In seldom-visited places, gray reef sharks have approached divers, especially when they first enter the water. After satisfying their curiosity, sharks typically leave. This species will put on a threat display if you get too close or if strange sounds or quick movements startle it. High-speed attacks may end the threat.

Did You Know:

Mature shark mating can be violent and leave females with several open wounds that make them more vulnerable to predators.


4. Great White Shark

Speed: 34 miles per hour
 Habitat/Range: Worldwide; Temperate waters and coastal areas
Scientific Name: Carcharodon carcharias
 Average Lifespan: 50-70 years

Great White Sharkphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Great white sharks inhabit temperate and tropical coastal seas globally. They’re the world’s biggest predatory fish, reaching 8 meters and 2 tonnes. Great white sharks are strong predators responsible for up to half of all shark attacks on humans.

Great white sharks, sometimes known as white pointer sharks, have been one of the most merciless ocean predators for about 20 million years.

Despite their fame, they are rarer than other sharks. Although little is known about their biology and population estimates, scientists believe that great white shark populations are declining globally due to hunting and habitat destruction over most of their natural range.

Did You Know:

Great White Sharks’ attacks are rare despite their notoriety in the media.


3. Blue Shark

Speed: 43 miles per hour
 Habitat/Range: Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific oceans; tropical and temperate waters
Scientific Name: Prionace glauca
 Average Lifespan: 15-20 years

Blue Sharkphoto source: Flickr

Blue sharks are inquisitive, open-ocean predators found worldwide. They’re pelagic and spend most of their lives offshore. Blue sharks can go 43 mph. Blue sharks strike from underneath with speed, despite their sluggish appearance. Squid, fish, seabirds, and smaller sharks are their primary prey.

Blue sharks are 12 feet long and slim. They live in 1,150-foot-deep tropical and temperate seas. Blue sharks have 135 live offspring in each litter. Killer whales, great whites, and tiger sharks hunt blue sharks.

Did You Know:

Blue sharks are nomadic, with some research suggesting that each individual may make many journeys across whole ocean basins over their lives.


2. Salmon Shark

Speed: 45 miles per hour
 Habitat/Range: North Pacific Ocean; Subtropical waters
Scientific Name: Lamna ditropis
 Average Lifespan: 20-27 years

Salmon Sharkphoto source: Big Fish Expeditions

Salmon sharks appear like white sharks but are dark blue-gray to black, except for their light undersides, which typically have dark markings. From their small, conical snouts to their crescent caudal (tail) fins, they may reach 10 feet (nearly 1,000 pounds). This shark, unlike others, is endothermic, meaning it can sustain a body temperature above the water.

Salmon sharks reach 45 mph. Yet, despite claims of even faster speeds, they are largely dismissed. Salmon sharks are 10 feet long, grey to black on top, and white underneath, resembling great whites. They are apex predators from the north Pacific Ocean and feed on salmon, squid, herring, and sablefish.

Did You Know:

Salmon sharks are often dubbed “Pacific Porbeagles” because they look like porbeagles.


1. Shortfin Mako Shark

Speed: 46 miles per hour
 Habitat/Range: Worldwide; Temperate and tropical regions
Scientific Name: Isurus oxyrinchus
 Average Lifespan: 28-35 years

Shortfin Mako Sharkphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Shortfin mako is the fastest shark species in the world, with a top speed of  46 mph. Shortfin makos have metallic blue or deep purple backs and white underbellies with a clear color split. They are energetic and regularly breach the water when eating.

The endangered species lives in temperate and tropical waters worldwide. Shortfin mako sharks consume mackerel, tuna, porpoises, turtles, and sharks. They rush upwards in the water and bite their prey’s sides and fins before they detect them.

Did You Know:

When hunting, the shortfin mako shark can leap as high as 20 feet out of the water.

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