Sharks in Texas

The Coastal Fisheries Division, managed by the Texas Parks &Wildlife Department, has listed around 40 shark species in Texas, of which five are abundantly found.

The International Shark Attack File has recorded 44 unprovoked attacks in Texas since 1911. From 2000 till 2019, there have been 26 shark bites, with an average of 1.3 per year. The last recorded shark attack happened in June 2016 when a 6-year-old was bitten on her feet when floating in a tube in Pirates Beach.

The waters of Galveston, infamous for the most shark attacks (119), have many harmless species, like the blacktip and spinner, found in plenty here. The Texas side of the Gulf of Mexico abounds with great whites tagged many times by the Ocearch, which helps track shark species.

List of the Different Types of Sharks in Texas

Common Sharks

Species Maximum Size Aggressiveness
Atlantic Sharpnose Shark 2-4 feet Moderately aggressive
Blacktip Shark 5-8 feet Moderately aggressive
Bonnethead Shark 4-5 feet Not aggressive
Bull Shark 7-12 feet Highly aggressive
Spinner Shark 7 -8 feet Not aggressive

Rare Sharks

Finetooth Shark 5-6 feet Not aggressive
Lemon Shark 9-10 feet Not aggressive
Blacknose Shark 3-5 feet Not aggressive
Thresher Shark 10-18 feet Not aggressive
Tiger Shark 10-14 feet Highly aggressive
Blue Shark 6-11 feet Not aggressive
Shortfin Mako Shark 6.5-9.5 feet Highly aggressive
Nurse Shark 7-8 feet Not aggressive
Sandbar Shark 5.5-8.5 feet Not aggressive
Caribbean Sharpnose Shark 3-4 feet Highly aggressive
Scalloped Hammerhead Shark 9-12 feet Moderately aggressive
Tiger Shark 10-14 feet Highly aggressive
Whale Shark 18-32 feet Not aggressive
Bigeye Sand Tiger Shark 11-12 feet Not aggressive (show aggression only if provoked)
Atlantic Angel Shark 3-4 feet Moderately aggressive
Bigeyed Sixgill Shark 11-12 feet Not aggressive
Big Eye Thresher Shark 11-16 feet Not aggressive
Bignose Shark 8.5-9.5 feet Highly aggressive (but not dangerous since they are less encountered)
Caribbean Reef Shark 8-9 feet Not aggressive
Dusky Shark 9 -12 feet Not aggressive (until provoked)
Galapagos Shark 9.5-11.5 feet Moderately aggressive
Longfin Mako Shark 12-14 feet Highly aggressive
Copper Shark 11-12 feet Not aggressive
Night Shark 5-6 feet Not aggressive
Oceanic Whitetip Shark 5-8 feet Not aggressive
Broadnose Sevengill Shark 3.5-7.5 feet Not aggressive (unless caught)
Silky Shark 7-10 feet Highly aggressive
Bluntnose Six-gill Shark 15-20 feet Moderately aggressive (rarely targets humans, reports of just one provoked attack)
Smalltail Shark 3.5-4.5 feet Not aggressive
Great White Shark 11-16 feet Highly aggressive

Interesting Facts

  • Texas allows hammerheads with a height of 8 feet to be caught. There have been records of some huge hammerhead catches here. In 2021 Jen Merchant, a resident of Corpus Christi, caught an 11-foot hammerhead shark after a 45-minute-long struggle. It was later released into the ocean. In another incident, Poco Cedillo, an angler, and his friends caught a 14-feet long hammerhead weighing more than 900 pounds after fishing for two days. The shark was exhausted and died shortly despite Cedillo’s attempts to revive it.
  • The Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi provides visitors with a unique experience of swimming close to the sandbar and other shark species housed here. Each tour accommodates four guests, and children aged 8-12 years are allowed if accompanied by their parent or guardian.

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