Sharks in Connecticut

Connecticut doesn’t have too many shark species, just four of them frequenting the coastline regularly, none of which are dangerous. The bull shark is one of the rare residents of CT infamous for its unprovoked and provoked attacks on humans.

Great whites generally do not make the Connecticut waters their home. Yet, they might have been spotted there because of their migratory pattern, as evident from recent sightings. In 2019, OCEARCH tagged Cabot weighing 533 pounds with a height of around 10 feet along the Long Island Sound area.

Sharks in Connecticut

List of the Different Types of Sharks in Connecticut

Common Sharks

Species Maximum Size Aggressiveness
Sand Tiger Shark 7-10 feet Not aggressive (due to their small mouths)
Sandbar Shark 5.5-8.5 feet Not aggressive
Smooth Dogfish 4-5 feet Not aggressive (due to their blunt teeth)
Spiny Dogfish 2.5-3.5 feet Not aggressive (due to their small size)

Rare Sharks

Common Thresher Shark 12-18 feet Not aggressive
Bull Shark 7-12 feet Highly aggressive
Dusky Shark 9 -12 feet Not aggressive (until provoked)



Shark attacks are extremely rare in Connecticut, with only three unprovoked attacks since 1890. The first incident happened in 1890, the second in 1933, and the third in 1960. Of the latest attacks, the one in July 2022 on the Smith County Park beach is worth mentioning. Surfer Shawn Donnely was bitten on his leg by a shark that he assumed was the sand tiger. In another incident on the same beach, a lifeguard was attacked while in the middle of a training regime. He required stitches but fortunately survived the attack. 

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