Many people believe that all sharks species are a huge threat to people. Between Hollywood movies like Jaws and Deep Blue Sea and television events like Shark Week, there’s a cultural myth that all sharks are a threat to humans. Though there are sharks like Tiger Sharks, Bull Sharks, and Great White Sharks that tend to be more aggressive toward humans, even these sharks do not really present much of a threat. In fact there are several species of shark that present no risk at all to humans. So to help dispel the myth that all sharks are bloodthirsty, human hunting predators, we have compiled a list of the 10 least dangerous sharks.
1. Whale Sharks
Though Whale Sharks are the largest shark in the ocean, Whale Sharks present no threat to humans. Whale Sharks are filter feeders, so like Whales they just eat zooplankton. So they do not hunt and kill prey the way some other species of sharks do. In fact, Whale Sharks have been known to not only be tolerant of divers, but some will even interact and play with humans. These beautiful, docile creatures are not dangerous at all.
2. Nurse Sharks
Nurse Sharks are the couch potatoes of the ocean. Though they are ferocious predators, they mainly just hang out along the bottom of the ocean in shallow waters and wait for prey. The only times they have ever attacked humans is when they have been directly antagonized and are protecting themselves. Even then, there’s only been 5 Nurse Shark attacks and all have been non-fatal. Nurse Sharks are a great shark for new divers and snorkelers to swim with because they present no threat to humans.
3. Basking Sharks
Basking Sharks, like Whale Sharks are another incredibly large filter feeder. Even though they are a lamniformes shark, so they are related to and often are mistaken for Great White Sharks, their temperament could not be any different from their predatory cousins. There has never been an account of a Basking Shark attacking a human, and because of their passive attitude, they also make a great swimming partner for divers.
4. Leopard Sharks
Though Leopard Sharks are found in the same shallow waters humans often swim in, there has never been a case of a Leopard Shark attacking a person. These bottom dwellers many swim along the ocean floor hunting crabs and small fish. Usually when they encounter a human they will swim away, rather than investigate. So considering how many opportunities they have to attack humans, Leopard Sharks present zero threat to people.
5. Angel Sharks
Angel Sharks are another coastal bottom dweller. Angel Sharks are found along the coast of every continent in the world, hunting just underneath the sandy surface. Since they are highly camouflaged, most of the time swimmers don’t even notice them along the seafloor. The only time an Angel Shark has been known to attack is when they’ve been stepped on. Otherwise, even though they are incredibly prolific, they are not aggressive.
6. Bamboo Sharks
Bamboo Sharks are found in the coastal waters along Southeast Asia and the Australian continent. These small sharks measure around 48 in (121 cm) in length. Though impressive hunters, Bamboo Sharks have never attacked humans. Bamboo Sharks are so docile, they have been noted to let divers stroke and pet them. Between their smaller size and non-aggressive temperaments, these sharks pose no threat to humans.
7. Goblin Shark
Goblin Sharks are one of the scariest looking sharks in the ocean. They have powerful retractable jaws, lined with sharp teeth, that jut out and quickly snag their prey. However, not only are they not a particularly aggressive shark, they hunt in very deep ocean waters at a minimum of 330 ft (100 m) so very few humans ever encounter them in the wild. To date, there are no documented cases of a Goblin Shark ever attacking a human.
8. Greenland Shark
Though they are one of the largest predatory sharks in the ocean, measuring up to a whopping 24 ft (7.3 m), these sharks have not been known to attack humans. Greenland Sharks are a variety of Sleeper Shark, so they also swim at a very slow pace of 0.76 mph (0.3 m/s). Also they prefer extremely cold and deep waters, so humans very rarely encounter them in the wild. There have been reports of Greenland Sharks attacking kayaks, but there are no known attacks on humans.
9. Sand Tiger Sharks
Sand Tiger Sharks are another non-threatening shark species. There are three species of Sand Tiger Sharks and even within this diversity, they have never been known to attack a human. They have been observed be protective and show displays of dominance around humans who are spearfishing underwater, but these have never lead to an attack. So these three species present no threat to humans.
10. Thresher Sharks
Thresher Sharks are impressive hunters. They use both their long tails to beat and whip their prey and their shark teeth and powerful jaws to take them down. However, even though these are an aggressive species of shark, there have only been 5 total Thresher Shark attacks on humans, all have been provoked, and four happened when a Thresher Shark was brought aboard a boat. In the wild, Thresher Sharks are extremely shy around humans, preferring to steer clear of them.
These ten species of shark are just some of the 440 different species that roam our oceans. Like these ten sharks, the vast majority of shark species are not a direct threat to humans. In fact, even in cases with aggressive sharks like Bull Sharks, Tiger Sharks, and Great White Sharks, who have the most documented attacks on humans, most sharks only attack humans out of either curiosity or because they feel directly threatened. Though there are many myths about sharks being violent predators hunting and eating humans, the reality is most sharks do not ever attack humans.