You may be off to the Maldives and you’d like to know if great White Sharks live there. Let’s take a look…
So are there great white sharks in the Maldives? There are no great white sharks in the Maldives as great whites prefer cooler waters. The waters around the Maldives are 28-30°C (82-86°F) and great white sharks prefer coastal and offshore waters with water temperatures between 12-24°C (54-75 °F) instead. Instead of white sharks you’ll see 27 other shark types.
The above answer may disappoint you if you’re hoping to see great white sharks. But on the other hand it may be a relief if you’re scared of great whites.
But you may like to read an interesting find towards the end of this article. Does this go against what we all thought about The Maldives and Great White Sharks, or is there an explanation?
But first, just because there are no great white sharks in the Maldives, this doesn’t mean there are no sharks at all.
What sharks can you see in the Maldives?
If there aren’t any great white sharks in the Maldives, what sharks can be seen?
There are around 27 different shark species identified as living in the Maldives. These include hammerhead sharks, oceanic whitetips, blacktip and whitetip reef sharks, nurse sharks and grey reef sharks.
If you like to scuba dive with sharks as I do, you’ll be pleased to know there are also tiger sharks in the Maldives too. But these are not seen that often. If you want to find out more about tiger sharks in The Maldives, you may want to read this article about tiger sharks in The Maldives. This article includes details about three Maldives Liveaboards with the chance to see tiger sharks.
You’ll often see an abundance of baby reef sharks around the shallow waters in some of the lagoons near your accommodation in the Maldives.
This is particularly at Ayada where the accommodation is over the lagoon. You can even snorkel among them as these baby sharks are totally harmless. They are more likely swim away from you if you get too close.
27 types of sharks in the Maldives (The list doesn’t include Great White Sharks)
The following the 27 shark types in the Maldives:
- Blacktip reef shark.
- Tawny nurse shark.
- Grey reef shark.
- Tiger shark.
- Leopard shark.
- Whitetip reef shark.
- Nurse shark.
- Whale shark.
- Oceanic whitetip shark.
- Zebra shark.
- Silvertip shark.
- Lemon shark.
- Silky shark.
- Bull sharks
- Pelagic thresher shark.
- Sicklefin lemon shark.
- Hammerhead sharks.
- Blue shark.
- Smalltooth sand tiger shark.
- Spot-tail shark.
- Kitefin shark.
- Sliteye shark.
- Bigeye thresher shark.
- Bignose shark.
- Sharpnose sevengill shark.
- Starspotted smooth-hound.
- Arabian smooth-hound.
It’s perfectly safe to scuba dive with all of the above shark species. Also, and if you worried, most of the sharks listed here are only seen when you scuba diving away from the resorts.
But even then you’ll be very lucky to see even half of the above list of sharks on a dive trip to the Maldives.
Is it safe to swim in Maldives?
It is safe to swim in The Maldives. Which means that even if sharks were dangerous to humans (which they are generally not), you are safe to swim and snorkel in the waters around your resort.
However, whilst sharks don’t pose a risk when you swim in the Maldives, the seas around the Maldives have some strong tidal currents. So be careful as a few foreign nationals drown each year and take advice before you enter the water in the Maldives.
Are there big sharks in the Maldives?
There are big sharks in the Maldives, with the biggest shark of them; the whale shark (included below is a link to a page with the best times to visit and dive The Maldives for seeing whale sharks).
There are other big sharks, which include blacktip reef sharks, hammerheads, nurse sharks and even the odd large bull shark.
One of the other larger sharks you may be lucky to spot when diving is the oceanic whitetip.
Are there dangerous sharks in the Maldives?
Sharks in the Maldives are not considered to be dangerous. All sharks have the potential to be dangerous towards humans, but often this is when they are provoked by being touched or by spear fishing.
But so long as you don’t touch them you can enjoy watching sharks when diving or snorkelling in the Maldives and stay safe.
Are there shark attacks in the Maldives?
There’s no history of any shark attacks in the Maldives. So whilst many of the sharks sharks are dangerous to their prey, when it comes to humans sharks usually swim away.
Hammerheads and reef sharks are the most common sharks in the Maldives, neither of which are aggressive towards humans if they’re not provoked.
This video is possibly the closest you’ll get to see of a shark attack in the Maldives. By the way it’s not an attack on a human, these sharks are feeding on fish scraps!
Are there bull sharks in the Maldives?
There are definitely bull sharks in the Maldives. If you look at where the Maldives lies in the Indian ocean, it’s east of the African coast and west of Sri Lanka where bull sharks are seen in both places. It makes sense bull sharks are in the Maldives too.
Still not convinced? Take a look at the video below showing a bull shark at Muli Corner Meemu Atol. Bull Sharks have also been spotted at Manta Point but are not regular visitors.
Tagged great white shark pings near The Maldives
Eco shark tour company in South Africa African Shark Eco-Charters posted that a tagged great white shark has pinged off The Maldives. This happened back in April 2012. The great white pinged is a female called Kathryn (which kind of makes her sound friendly). At the time she was found to be in the region she was 4.5 metres in length (15 feet) and weighed 1,102 kilos (2,430lbs)!
The reality is still the same as what I explained at the start of this article. Great white sharks don’t live in the seas around The Maldives. The waters are too warm, as they prefer the colder waters south of this part of the Indian Ocean.
Explanation about why a great white shark was near (i.e. 650 kilometres away) from The Maldives
But there may be an explanation for this great white being near to Chagos Archipelago (and not far from there Maldives!), which is upwelling of cold water. It would appear that Chagos is situated in a key region of climate variability.
Chagos lies at the eastern margin of an oceanic feature known as the ‘Seychelles–Chagos thermocline ridge’.This thermocline rises close to the surface where an upwelling of cold water from below the thermocline occurs.
The Kathryn the great white may be using this cold water thermocline as a passage to find food. But the same cold water does not reach The Maldives, so it’s highly unlikely great whiter sharks will ever reach the Maldives.
If you are interested to find out about liveaboard diving The Maldives, you may want to take a look at this page about liveaboard diving in The Maldives. The article includes details about the best time to visit and dive the Maldives, along with a table of the features for all Maldives Liveaboards too.
I hope you enjoyed this article about are there great white sharks in the Maldives
I’d love to hear from you. Tell us about your adventures of diving and snorkelling. Please use the comments section below. Please also share your photos. Either from your underwater cameras or videos from your waterproof go-pro’s!
If this article hasn’t answered all of your questions. If you have more questions either about snorkelling or scuba diving (or specifically about are there great white sharks in the Maldives), please comment below with your questions.
There will also be many more articles about scuba and scuba diving safety tips (and on snorkelling too) for you to read and learn about this fabulous sport.
Have fun and be safe!