Most Dangerous Sharks 2015
on 02 December 2015
You've read the stats. Sharks rarely attack humans unless provoked. You're more likely to be injured by your surfboard or killed by your Christmas tree than by a shark. But for most people, that doesn't take away any of their primal fear of these sleek, razor-toothed predators.
The vast majority of the world's 400+ shark species are harmless, but those aren't the ones we're talking about here. These are the top 10 deadliest sharks that will continue to provide fodder for nightmares and horror movies for generations to come.
10. Hammerhead shark
A family of sharks rather than a singular species, hammerheads are endangered in the wild and encounters are rare, but there have still been at least 34 reported attacks and one fatality. The largest hammerhead species, Sphyrna mokarran, can grow to six metres in length and has serrated teeth similar to the bull shark.
9. Blacktip shark
Smaller and less powerful than most dangerous species, blacktip sharks are surprisingly energetic and make up for their shortcomings in sheer numbers. Found in tropical shallows in many parts of the world, they are responsible for the highest percentage of shark attacks in Florida.
8. Sand tiger shark
A favourite at aquariums for its sheer size and rows of sharp, protruding teeth, the sand tiger shark is less predatory in the wild than its menacing appearance suggests. These docile sharks don't usually attack unless provoked, but at least two deaths have been reported.
7. Blue shark
One of the world's most widespread shark species, encounters with humans are mercifully rare due to their preference for deep waters. These fast sharks can still pose a danger to small fishing boats and divers however, and have been known to patiently circle for up to 15 minutes.
6. Bronze whaler shark
Also known as the copper shark, this giant of the ocean has traditionally been a menace for spear fishermen, but is also responsible for multiple attacks and at least two deaths involving swimmers and surfers along Australia's east coast.
5. Shortfin mako shark
The world's fastest shark, the shortfin mako has been recorded swimming at speeds up to 74 km/h (46 mph) and has a fierce temper to match. When provoked, its response is quick and aggressive, attacking ships and having claimed at least three lives.
4. Oceanic whitetip shark
It may not be the deadliest shark on this list, but the oceanic whitetip has very likely killed more people than all other shark species combined, finishing off the unfortunate crews of sunken ships and planes during World War II. More recently, the oceanic whitetip was involved in incidents along the Red Sea coast, claiming the life of one woman in 2010.
3. Tiger shark
Responsible for the most attacks in Australia, Hawaii and the tropics, the tiger shark is huge, aggressive and has an insatiable appetite. Their natural curiosity and hunting instinct often take them into shallow waters.
2. Bull shark
Arguably the world's most dangerous shark, the bull shark resides in shallow seas, rivers and lakes all over the world, which puts them in frequent contact with people. One third of the shark's 104 reported attacks have been deadly, and it's believed that a great many more have gone unreported in the developing world.
1. Great white shark
What else? The largest and deadliest of all predatory fish, the great white can grow up to 8 metres and 3.5 tons, and attacks its prey at speeds up to 56 km/h (35 mph). Located in temperate coastal waters around the world, the great white is believed to be culpable for 30 to 50 attacks on humans every year, between one third and half of all shark attacks.
As legitimately terrifying as many of these predators are, it's ironically the sharks that need protecting from humans, with many species fast approaching extinction. Even the great white is now protected in many countries, demonstrating that very human compassion that separates us from the animals.