World Facts

Are There Sharks in the Mediterranean Sea?

There are indeed sharks in the Mediterranean Sea.

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The presence of sharks in the Mediterranean Sea is confirmed although seldom seen due to their love of open waters. The Mediterranean Sea is an inland sea that covers 965,000 square miles and is connected to the Atlantic Ocean by the Strait of Gibraltar. With a depth of 4,900 feet on average, the Mediterranean Sea’s deepest point is the Calypso Deep in the Ionian Sea measuring 17,280 feet below sea level. The Mediterranean Sea is home to approximately 47 species of sharks. Some of these species are known to attack human beings when they are provoked.

Shark Species Found in the Mediterranean Sea

Great White Sharks

The great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias)is one of the most dangerous sharks in the sea. It is also known by the name white death, white shark, or white pointer. It can measure up to 21 feet and weigh over 6,500 pounds. It has recently been sighted off the Spanish coast where scientists took videos of it before confirming that it was indeed a great white shark. Great white sharks are found in coastal areas but avoid coming too close to the coast. They prefer water temperature ranging from 59°F to 79°F. They mostly keep to themselves unless provoked.

Sand Tiger Sharks

The sand tiger (Carcharias Taurus) is a common shark found mostly off Spain’s coast. They have a sharply pointed head and can reach a body length of 10.5 feet. The females are larger than males. They have reddish spots on their backs and have a ferocious look because of their sharp pointed teeth and eyes that stare due to lack of eyelids. The sand tiger sharks have two breathing systems, one which is commonly used by other sharks and fish underwater and the other where they come to the ocean surface to gulp down air to their stomach which enables them to remain buoyant in water. They are very gentle in nature and only attack when provoked.

Great Hammerhead Sharks

With t-shaped flatheads, the great hammerhead shark (Sphyrna zygaena)is unique from other sharks. It has a body length of up to 20 feet, and they can weigh as much as 1,000 pounds. Unlike the great white shark which travels alone, the great hammerhead travels in a group. They mostly feed on other sea animals and use their hammerhead mainly as a disguise when hunting stingrays.

Blacktip Sharks

The blacktip shark (Carcharhinus limbatus) is found in the threatened species list. It gets its name from their dorsal fins and black-tipped snouts. They love shallow and warm waters and rarely attack humans unless provoked. They are generally smaller than other sharks weighing 40 pounds and an average length of 5 feet.

Other sharks found in the Mediterranean include scalloped hammerhead shark, spinner shark, blue shark, sharp-nosed seven-gill shark, oceanic whitetip, shortfin mako shark, and copper shark.

Human-Shark Encounters

In the Mediterranean Sea, most sharks do not pose any serious threat to human beings. Most of them will swim next to humans and rarely attack. The majority of provoked and unprovoked attacks in the Mediterranean happens mostly to surfers as their random movements in the sea confuses sharks who often mistake them for prey.

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