Sharks, by their very nature are a dangerous animal. Officially classified as a fish because of their ability to breath under water, it seems to do a disservice to the ferocity of these animals by grouping them in with something you can find in a pet store.
Most are predators, equivalent to that of a lion. Although, unlike a lion they are solitary hunters, they are able to take down larger prey, including other sharks, dolphins, and sea lions in addition to their staple diet of native fish, and in some cases even sea turtles. They come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, and can be found in almost any major body of salt water around the world. The top five most dangerous sharks are organized according to the total amount of reported attacks on humans.
5. Oceanic Whitetip Shark (Carcharhinus longimanus)
10 total unprovoked 1 attacks, 3 deaths
Although the Whitetip Shark does not have the highest attack count on this list, in some aspects it is the most vicious. Unlike other species, it is most famed for completely unexplainable attacks on humans, often claiming survivors of plane crashes and boat sinkings. Its main diet consists of bony fish and cephalopods, although it may also dine on sting rays, sea turtles, sea birds, crustaceans, and even sea-bound mammals. It can be found in any area of deep, open water, although occasionally it can also be seen around island areas such as Hawaii
4. Blue Shark (Prionace glauca)
213 total unprovoked attacks, 4 deaths
The Blue Shark is probably the smallest shark on this list; but it’s certainly proof that size is not necessarily a good measurement of character! This shark is also widely fished for food and for leather; its estimated a maximum of twenty million per year are killed for human use. They prefer temperate and tropical waters, tending to stay in deep water in tropical climates, but sometimes drifting closer to shore in temperate areas. Their main foodstuffs consist of invertebrates like squid, and interestingly have been documented to come together and ‘herd’ groups of prey together for easy feeding.
3. Bull Shark (Carcharhinus leucas)
92 total attacks, 26 deaths
The Bull Shark, like the name suggests, can be fairly aggressive. It is found worldwide in almost every body of water imaginable, including rivers and lakes, and even salt and freshwater streams if the depth is high enough. It tends to stay closer to the coast than other sharks, and its diet reflects this land-loving tendency; it consumes birds, turtles, land-dwelling mammals, stingrays, and other sharks, including other bull sharks. They are extremely territorial and will attack anything that enters its territory, and so it makes sense that they are typically solitary hunters.
2. Tiger Shark (Galeocerdo cuvier)
100 total attacks, 29 deaths
The Tiger Shark has certainly earned its place on this list. It is considered dangerous mainly because, like the Bull Shark, it can be found in shallower, and thus human inhabited waters. It lives mainly in tropical and subtropical climates, although it has been sighted as far south as New Zealand. It get its name not from hunting like a tiger, but from the dark stripes it wears on its body, which fades as it matures. This species of shark is also considered to be a near threatened species, because of human finning and fishing practices.
1. White Shark (Carcharodon carcharias)
272 total attacks, 74 deaths
More commonly known as the “Great White”, and as the star of the 1975 film Jaws, the White Shark is responsible for the most unprovoked attacks on humans. Ironically, it is not considered aggressive, and behavior patterns indicate that it will even go out of its way to avoid potential conflict with other sharks. It comfortably sits at the top of the oceanic food chain, its only natural predators being humans and the Killer Whale. They live in almost all coastal and offshore waters, save for extreme southern areas around Antarctica and northern areas such as Canada, Greenland, and coastal Russia.
While the sharks on this list are not the largest shark species known, they are without a doubt the most aggressive, and the most dangerous. It should be noted that the United States holds the highest record of attacks followed by Australia; this could be due to the high 2 level of tourism to coastal areas, or simply a high population concentration in coastal areas.
“FLMNH Ichthyology Department: ISAF Statistics on Attacking Species of Shark.” Florida Museum of Natural History.