What are the types of shark that live on the Great Barrier Reef?
Not everyone visits the Great Barrier Reef to scuba dive with sharks. Plus some scuba divers are wary of diving with sharks too. That’s why many travellers ask the question ‘are there sharks in the Great Barrier Reef?’
There are up to 134 species of shark found on the Great Barrier Reef. Shark species found there include whitetip sharks, blacktip sharks, hammerhead sharks, tiger sharks and the strange looking Wobbegong shark.
Please read on to learn that even great white sharks have been spotted on the Great Barrier Reef too. If you would like to cage dive with great white sharks in Australia, you may want to read this article about cage diving with great white sharks. Or read this article about the best place to scuba dive with great white sharks. One of which is in Australia.
Are there sharks in the Great Barrier Reef?
First things first, as this article is about are there sharks in the Great Barrier Reef. The answer is an emphatic yes. In fact there are many species of shark on the Great Barrier reef.
It’s safe to dive with sharks for those of you who fear scuba diving with sharks. I’ve dived all over the world with many species of shark. As have thousands of other scuba divers.
The number of shark attacks are so small on humans. Plus the shark attacks that occur tend not to be on scuba divers in any case. Sharks tend to be mostly wary of scuba divers. But when they do attack, it’s usually a mistaken identity. Or it’s due to provocation. You are therefore even safer if you don’t provoke sharks.
How common are shark attacks in Australia?
Shark attacks in Australia are still extremely rare. Shark attacks on scuba divers are even more rare.
Whilst many people are scared of sharks. But this is an ill-placed fear, as the chances of a shark attack encounter are still very rare.
According to the Australian Shark Attack File, in the last 50 years there have been 47 unprovoked shark fatalities in Australian waters (which is an average of 0.9 per year). This number includes all water users. This includes surfers, swimmers as well as scuba divers.
What types of sharks are in the Great Barrier Reef?
The Great Barrier Reef is home to a large number of sharks. But you are likely to see more sharks if you visit the outer reefs. You are more likely to enjoy shark encounters on the Great Barrier Reef if you join a liveaboard dive boat trip.
Liveaboards tend to travel further and are not restricted by having to return to port each evening.
The sharks on the Great Barrier reef range from bottom-dwelling sharks like wobbegongs (see below) and nurse sharks, to larger sharks like reef, tiger and hammerhead sharks.
But by far the most common species of sharks seen by scuba divers on the Great Barrier Reef are whitetip and blacktip reef sharks.
Video of shark diving on the Great Barrier Reef from the Spirit of Freedom liveaboard.
Great Barrier Reef great white sharks
But the one shark you probably won’t see on the Great Barrier Reef is the great white shark.
Great white sharks prefer the colder waters of the Southern Ocean. But having said that, this video tells a different story. This great white shark was spotted near Lady Elliot Island, which is the southernmost coral cay of the Great Barrier Reef.
How many species of sharks are there in the Great Barrier Reef?
The Great Barrier Reef is home to possibly the largest number of shark species in the world.
There are more than 134 species of sharks that live on the Great Barrier Reef around this huge reef system.
These sharks share the reef with over 1,500 species of fish, rays which includes manta rays, turtles and many other underwater creatures.
Do tiger sharks live in the Great Barrier Reef?
As already mentioned, tiger sharks are one of the many shark species found on the Great Barrier Reef.
Tiger sharks are one of the few shark species which give birth to live young. They are born to predate and have been known to grow to over 5 metres (16 feet 5 inches) in length.
The female tiger sharks tend to grow larger than their male counterparts. These beautifully marked sharks, which have a tiger-like marking on their flanks, can be curious towards divers. But you will be lucky to see one when you dive the Great Barrier Reef, as they are not often seen.
The adult tigers are mostly found patrolling the open coast and are renowned for eating turtles. They are also known for eating almost anything that moves too. Tiger sharks are the dustbins of the oceans.
If you like the idea of tiger shark diving, you may like to read this article about the best place to dive with tiger sharks.
Is a Wobbegong a shark?
The Wobbegong shark, which is also known as a carpet shark, can be found on the Great Barrier Reef. These strange looking creatures are mostly inactive during the day time. But they come to life at night, which is when they hunt for their food.
Wobbegongs tend to eat small reef fish, crustaceans and squid. In the above picture you are looking at the Tassled Wobbegong shark.
The Japanese Wobbegong, or Orectolobus japonicas has a flattened body, as can be seen in the above image.
Do Wobbegongs have teeth?
Wobbegong sharks have a strong jaw with sharp teeth. They are known for biting and not letting go.
What is the most common fish in the Great Barrier Reef?
With around 134 species of shark, which are included in the total fish species of more 1,500 fish found on the Great Barrier Reef, what are the most common fish found there?
- Surgeon fish.
- Trigger fish.
- Butterfly Fish.
- Cardinal Fish.
- Clown Fish.
- Groupers and Cods.
- Rays and sting rays.
Do crocodiles live in the Great Barrier Reef?
In addition to sharks, many ask whether salt water crocodiles live in the Great Barrier Reef too.
Salt Water Crocodiles are mostly not found on the Barrier Reef itself, but they can be found along beaches and around offshore islands in the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait.
They are mostly found nearer the coast line and around the salt marshes and mangroves.
I hope you enjoyed this article about ‘are there sharks in the Great Barrier Reef‘
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Have fun and be safe!