3 Sharks Commonly Found in Gulf Coast Waters

Pretty much everyone today has at least heard of the movie Jaws. This movie sparked a fear of sharks the likes of which had never been seen before. If you’ve spent any significant amount of time around Gulf Coast waters, you’ve probably seen signs telling swimmers to stay out of the water, which could be due to the presence of sharks. But what sort of shark? There are a few that you could find in these waters.

Bull Shark

At a glance, a bull shark looks a lot like a great white shark. There are some characteristics that make this shark unique to its more famous relative. To start, bull sharks are smaller than great white sharks. They’re also more of a light grey or brown color on top that gradually fades into a lighter belly, whereas great whites have a clear delineation between their dark grey back and white underbelly. Their tails are different too, with the upper part of the bull shark’s tail being far longer than the bottom, and a great white’s tail being more even on top and bottom. These sharks are aggressive and can be found in shallow waters that humans frequent, making them dangerous to encounter.

Nurse Shark

On the other side of the spectrum, we have nurse sharks. Nurse sharks are generally considered harmless, though they have been known to attack humans if provoked or harassed. These sharks are somewhat unique as they don’t need to swim in order to breathe. This allows them to rest on the floor of the ocean during the day. Nurse sharks have whisker-like organs hanging from their bottom jaw that allow them to sense their prey, which mostly consists of other bottom-dwelling animals like rays, lobsters, crabs, urchins, squid, octopus, and shrimp.

Hammerhead Shark

Hammerhead sharks are a rather distinct bunch. Their unique head shape resembles a hammer or shovel, and actually offers them a few different advantages. It allows them to have impressive maneuverability and creates a more expanded nostril that may provide advantages when it comes to hunting prey. It also has more electroreceptive organs, which helps with hunting and locating prey even more. The shape of their heads also makes it possible for them to use them to ram into prey and pin it down before biting it. They aren’t usually considered dangerous, but have been known to attack people, possibly attracted by the blood produced by spearfishing.

People tend to be simultaneously fascinated and terrified by sharks. It’s understandable, really. They’re incredibly powerful and have the potential to be quite deadly. They also live in a world that is almost entirely foreign to most of us. Want to get more familiar with them? Learn more about them and then maybe go shark cage diving for a more personal encounter if you dare.

Beaches can be a ton of fun, but sometimes they aren’t safe places to swim. Click the link to find out more: Going to the Beach? 3 Indicators That You Probably Shouldn’t Swim There.