Sharks in Malaysia

There are several shark species living in Malaysia. Common species include bamboo sharks, reef sharks, and hammerheads.

These sharks live in habitats such as coral reefs, mangroves, and open water. Out of all the shark species living in the country, only the whale shark is protected under the Fisheries Act 1985.

List of the Different Types of Sharks in Malaysia

Species Maximum

Size

Aggressiveness
Arabian Smooth-hound 4.9-4.92 feet Not aggressive
Blackspot Shark 3-3.1 feet Not aggressive
Blackspotted Catshark 1.5-1.6 feet Not aggressive
Blacktip Shark 5-8 feet Moderately aggressive
Blacktip Reef Shark 3-4 feet Moderately aggressive (if provoked)
Blue Shark 6-11 feet Not aggressive
Bluntnose Six-gill Shark 15-20 feet Moderately aggressive (rarely targets humans, reports of just one provoked attack)
Borneo Shark 2-2.1 feet Not aggressive
Brownbanded Bamboo Shark 3.3-3.41 feet Not aggressive
Bull Shark 7-12 feet Highly aggressive
Coral Catshark 2-2.3 feet Not aggressive
Gecko Catshark 1.2-1.6 feet Not aggressive
Graceful Shark 5.5-5.6 feet Not aggressive (potentially dangerous)
Great Hammerhead Shark 15-20 feet Highly aggressive
Grey Bamboo Shark 2.3-2.5 feet Not aggressive
Gray Reef Shark 4-5 feet Highly aggressive
Grey Sharpnose Shark 2.3-2.9 feet Not aggressive
Hardnose Shark 3.5-3.6 feet Not aggressive
Hasselt’s Bamboo Shark 1.96-1.97 feet Not aggressive
Hooktooth Shark 2.2-3.3 feet Not aggressive
Milk Shark 3.6-3.7 feet Not aggressive
Oceanic Whitetip Shark 10-13 feet Highly aggressive
Ocellated Angelshark 2-2.1 feet Not aggressive
Pelagic Thresher Shark 13-18 feet Not aggressive
Sandbar Shark 5.5-8.5 feet Not aggressive
Sarawak Smooth-hound 2-2.1 feet Not aggressive
Scalloped Hammerhead Shark 9-12 feet Moderately aggressive
Sharpnose Sevengill Shark 2-4.6 feet Moderately aggressive
Shortfin Mako Shark 6.5-9.5 feet Highly aggressive
Shortnose Spurdog 1.46-1.85 feet Not aggressive
Sicklefin Weasel Shark 3.5-3.6 feet Not aggressive
Silky Shark 7-10 feet Highly aggressive
Silvertip Shark 6.6-9.8 feet Moderately aggressive
Slender Bamboo Shark 2.1-2.2 feet Not aggressive
Sliteye Shark 2-2.3 feet Not aggressive
Smallfin Gulper Shark 3.2-3.3 feet Not aggressive
Smooth Hammerhead Shark 8-12 feet Not aggressive (but are potentially dangerous)
Snaggletooth Shark 7.8-7.9 feet Not aggressive
Spadenose Shark 2-2.4 feet Not aggressive
Spinner Shark 7 -8 feet Not aggressive
Spot-tail Shark 5-5.3 feet Not aggressive
Starry Smooth-hound 4-4.7 feet Not aggressive
Straight-tooth Weasel Shark 2.8-2.9 feet Not aggressive
Tawny Nurse Shark 9.6-10 feet Not aggressive
Tiger Shark 10-14 feet Highly aggressive
Whale Shark 18-32 feet Not aggressive
White Spotted Bamboo Shark 2-3 feet Not aggressive
Whitecheek Shark 3.2-3.3 feet Not aggressive
Whitetip Reef Shark 3-5.5 feet Moderately aggressive (only when provoked)
Winghead Shark 6-6.2 feet Not aggressive
Zebra Shark 8.2-11 feet Not aggressive
Zebra Bullhead Shark 4-4.1 feet Not aggressive

FAQs

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There have been only a few recorded shark attacks in Malaysian waters, none of which were fatal.

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Great white sharks are not native to Malaysia, but as they are animals known for migrating over long ranges, there can be an occasional sighting or two.

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Yes, in South Ari Atoll, you can go snorkeling or diving with whale sharks year-round.

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