What do sharks eat?

What do sharks eat?

Do sharks eat people? Do sharks eat other sharks? What does a shark’s regular meal look like?

If you have asked yourself this question, don’t worry. We hope that you will know everything you need to know about a shark’s eating habits after reading this information.

What do sharks eat? It depends on the shark’s species, but most of them are carnivorous.

Among their favorite meals are fish, crustaceans, and mollusks, but others also like tuna, mackerel, sea lions, and other sharks!

Also, some sharks like to feed on birds. But, planktivore sharks prefer plankton, a very small marine organism that measures up to 1 millimeter.

They would filter water to swallow these little creatures when a certain amount is accumulated.

Shark’s eating habits will also depend on where they live. They count on the prey that is available to them.

Although, they can adjust their eating habits to what they manage to get their teeth on if they cannot find their favorite prey. Sometimes they have ended up eating trash, oil, coal, or other dangerous things that have found their way into the water.

Do Sharks Eat Dolphins?

shark and dolphin

If you still want to know more about what do sharks eat, you may be wondering, “do sharks eat dolphins?”. Who do you think would win in a fight between a shark and a dolphin?

First of all, yes, some sharks like to eat dolphins. “Large sharks prey on dolphins, they particularly target very young calves and sick adult dolphins as these are the weakest and most vulnerable individuals,” Whales.org explains.

Some parts of the world where it is common to see sharks hunting and eating dolphins are Sarasota, Florida, and Australia. In fact, sharks are some of the most common predators dolphins have.

Nonetheless, sharks and dolphins can tolerate each other and co-exist in the same area. Attacks sometimes occur when dolphins enter sharks’ territory.

Do Sharks Eat Turtles?

shark and Turtle

Have you ever asked yourself, “do sharks eat turtles?” Is it possible for a shark to perforate a turtle’s hard shell?

The short answer is yes, they can, and they do eat turtles a lot. Turtles serve as prey for several shark species.

In fact, by sharks eating turtles, they help keep this population in check. Therefore, they are crucial to maintaining a balanced ecosystem.

Do Sharks Eat Whales? Can they compete against them?

 humpback whale

According to the New Scientist website, it is not common to see sharks attacking whales with the purpose of eating them. However, they know that tiger sharks often feed themselves on whale meat, but they get it by scavenging.

An article this website published in 2015 reports on an attack of a baby humpback whale. Nonetheless, they do not know if the sharks ate the calf in the end.

Do Sharks Eat Jellyfish?


It may seem strange to ask yourself if sharks eat jellyfish. As a matter of fact, who eats these gelatinous animals anyway?

According to an article published by The Independent, jellyfish can provide up to 5 calories since their body is made up of 95% water. Therefore, why would any animal want to hunt them?

Sharks. Many of them love jellyfish.

However, only pelagic sharks eat jellyfish. These are sharks that live in open waters.

But sharks are not dumb. They stay away from large species of jellyfish that have more venom than the smaller ones.

Do Sharks Eat Octopus?


This is another very interesting question regarding what do sharks eat. However, this time the answer is no.

Instead of octopus, sharks prefer squid, crustaceans, seals, fish, and sea lions. Yummy!

But, guess what? Octopus can eat sharks!

These creatures suffocate their prey, so octopuses can potentially kill and eat a shark. But it has to be a small or baby shark.

Do Sharks Eat Seals?

 seal being eaten by a shark

Do sharks eat seals? Yes, but only some of the larger species.

Some of these unfortunate encounters (for the seals) have been caught on camera. And, it is usually a white shark going for the seal.

Do Sharks Eat Fish?

shark eating fish

Yes! Sharks LOVE to eat fish.

A regular shark’s diet will include fish, mollusks, and crustaceans. Among other fish species, they like tuna, smaller sharks, and mackerel.

Sharks can be picky too. The hammerhead shark usually prefers rays, and tiger sharks love turtles and blue sharks for dinner.

Do Sharks Eat Manatees?


Sharks do not usually eat manatees because they do not share the same environment. Manatees “spend most of their time in freshwater and only come into contact with sharks during a short period in the year,” the website Swimming with the Manatees explains.

For this reason, shark attacks on manatees are extremely rare. But, it does not mean that they don’t ever occur.

Sometimes, tiger sharks prey on weak or young manatees. Therefore, now and then, a shark will feed on manatees.

Do Sharks Eat People?

We have left the scariest question for last: Do sharks eat people?

The National Ocean Service says that only about 12 of the 300 different shark species that exist today have been involved in a shark attack towards a person.

Since sharks evolved millions of years before humans appeared on Earth. So… No, we are not part of their diet.

do sharks eat humans

When a shark attack on a human has occurred, it was most likely because the animal was confused or curious. When someone splashes the water, the shark may want to investigate what the fuss is all about.

A shark’s curiosity may lead up to an accidental attack. Moreover, sharks have more to fear from humans than we have to worry from them.

Humans hunt sharks for their meat, fins, organs, and more to make products.

We hope you have learned something new and we have answered the question, “what do sharks eat”. As you can see, they have quite a varied diet, but it does not include people, thankfully!

About The Author

Steph Copeland

I am a marine expert that has a passion for sharks and the preservation of the oceans. I would like to help people feel safe in the water so that they don’t fear sharks.