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Where Do Sharks Live?

Where Do Sharks Live?

When you’re out on a boat in the ocean, you might worry about the sharks that you can’t see swimming around and wonder where do sharks live? It probably seems obvious to most people that they live in the water, but where do they live? Are they found around tropical coral reefs, or do they live near the polar ice caps? Can you find sharks deep in the ocean’s depths, or do they live near beaches? Let’s dive into our ocean’s water and see.

Where Do Sharks Live?

Sharks are found in every ocean. That means you can find them in the Arctic, the Atlantic, the Indian, the Pacific, and the Southern Oceans. Even though there’s a chance of finding sharks in any ocean you sail across, they really aren’t everywhere.

Scientists estimate that up to 70% of the oceans on Earth don’t have sharks swimming in them.

Do Sharks Live in Saltwater?

The vast majority of sharks are found in saltwater. Their bodies don’t handle changes in salinity well, so you won’t usually find a shark in a freshwater body of water. The minimum for most sharks is brackish water, which is a combination of freshwater and saltwater, and that’s still not preferred.

As with everything, there are exceptions to the rule. For sharks, the main exception to sharks live in saltwater is the bull shark. These sharks have an advanced capability of regulating the concentration of water within their bodies, a process known as osmoregulation. They can do this even when the salinity of the water around them changes, such as moving into brackish water or freshwater. As such, bull sharks have been found traveling in freshwater rivers such as the Amazon River and the Mississippi River. These sharks may travel as much as 60 miles up the river!

shark found in mississipi river

There are also several species of freshwater sharks that belong to the genus Glyphis, but very little is known about these sharks. They live in freshwater rivers in Asia and Australia, but they are incredibly rare to see or track, largely due to the degradation of their habitat.

Areas Where You Might Find Sharks

Sharks live in several major zones around the world, which mostly depends on the species of shark. Even with these rough designations, sharks may travel many miles. Species such as the Great White Shark are iconic in areas such as Australia, but did you know that some have been found off the coast of the United States?

Sharks that prefer tropical waters live near the Equator. These sharks do not tend to stray to cooler waters and include species such as the Great Hammerhead Shark and the Nurse Shark.

In contrast to sharks that like tropical waters are the sharks that prefer polar waters and live near the polar ice caps. Some of these sharks are actually warm-blooded, rather than cold-blooded, and are able to keep their body temperature warmer than the surrounding waters, such as the Salmon Shark. Other sharks that live around the polar ice caps are the Greenland Sleeper Shark and the Black Dogfish Shark.

The biggest group of sharks are those that prefer temperate waters. They may travel across wide ranges of temperature, especially larger sharks such as the Great White Shark and the Basking Shark. Smaller temperate sharks tend to stay in a narrower temperature range of the water, so they can avoid large changes in temperature which may affect their bodies.

After all of this, you’re probably wondering one major thing:

Where Do Great White Sharks Live?

It’s a question on everyone’s mind, no matter where they reside. Reports come in from all around the world of tagged Great White Sharks showing up in different locations, so it’s no wonder people are so curious about where Great White Sharks live. There’s also the fear of these large predators that makes everyone wonder if they’ll encounter them when they get to the beach.

Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at it, Great White Sharks are found in temperate waters all over the world. They can be found in coastal and offshore waters, and they prefer the temperatures to be between 54 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit or 12 to 24 degrees Celsius. Some of the biggest concentrations of Great White Sharks are around the United States, the Mediterranean, Oceania, and Japan.

In Summary

No matter where you go swimming or boating, you run the risk of running into a shark. That doesn’t have to be a scary experience. Most sharks aren’t going to bother you, and some are downright adorable, such as the Dwarf Lanternshark, or frighteningly bizarre, such as the Frilled Shark. Of course, different species live in different areas, and many are hard to find, such as the sharks that prefer living deep in the cold ocean waters. Now you know the answer to the question where do sharks live — they live just about anywhere in our oceans, and in a few rivers, too.

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.