Sharks in Washington

According to Shark Foundation, Washington has around 30 shark species, most of which aren’t dangerous to humans save the tiger and great white. Shark attacks in Washington are rare, with only two recorded instances and 0 fatalities. The first attack occurred in 1989, and the second in 2017. Both the incident took place in Grays Harbor along the west coast involving a surfer and a great white. However, the population of great whites in WA is minimal, with rare sightings occurring near the Puget Sound area.

List of the Different Types of Sharks in Washington

Species Maximum Size Aggressiveness
Great White Shark 11-16 feet Highly aggressive
Tiger Shark 10-14 feet Highly aggressive
Salmon Shark 8-10 feet Not aggressive
Dusky Shark 9 -12 feet Not aggressive (until provoked)
Spiny Dogfish 2.5-3.5 feet Not aggressive (due to their small size)
Leopard Shark 6-7 feet Not aggressive
Sand Tiger Shark 7-10 feet Not aggressive (due to their small mouths)
Blacktip Shark 5-8 feet Moderately aggressive
Blue Shark 6-11 feet Not aggressive
Basking Shark 23-30 feet Not aggressive
Smooth Hammerhead Shark 8-12 feet Not aggressive (but potentially dangerous)
Thresher Shark 10-18 feet Not aggressive
Pacific Angel Shark 4-5 feet Not aggressive
Sand Tiger Shark 7-10 feet Not aggressive (due to their small mouths)
Scalloped Hammerhead 9-12 feet Moderately aggressive
Smooth Hammerhead Shark 8-12 feet Not aggressive (but potentially dangerous)
Bonnethead Shark 4-5 feet Not aggressive
Bluntnose Sixgill Shark 15-20 feet Moderately aggressive (rarely target humans, reports of just one provoked attack)
Broadnose Sevengill Shark 3.5-7.5 feet Not aggressive (unless caught)
Brown Catshark 1-2 feet Not aggressive
Common Thresher Shark 12-18 feet Not aggressive
Soupfin Shark 5-6 feet Not aggressive
Pacific Sleeper Shark 12-15 feet Not aggressive

FAQs

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A 10 feet bull shark was last sighted in Lake Washington close to the Lake Forest Park Civic Club. However, there have been no more sightings after that.

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The Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma, Washington, provides a unique eye-to-eye diving experience with the sharks. One could come across several species like the nurse, zebra, and sandbar shark. The cage accommodates a group of around four people at a time. However, the program is closed now and will resume in 2023 when the aquarium reopens.

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