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What Eats Sharks? (A to Z List) With Pictures

shark

Animals that eat sharks include giant grouper, humans, orcas, and some species of sharks.

Humans eat sharks in shark fin soup, but this is increasingly considered faux pas due to the cruel way the fins are cut from sharks, as well as a need to protect shark populations in the world’s oceans.

Cannibalistic sharks such as bull sharks, great white sharks, great hammerheads, and tiger sharks also eat smaller sharks when they have the opportunity.

Animals That Eat Sharks

1. Bull Sharks

bull shark
Scientific NameCarcharhinus leucas
Type of AnimalFish (Shark)
RangeWaters of the Tropics and Subtropics
DietCarnivore

Bull sharks are species of sharks that hunt and eat other sharks, especially the smaller ones.

This predator tends to headbutt their prey before eating them. 

These animals are considered the third most dangerous shark species because of their prolific predatory instincts. Hence the famous saying:

“If a bull shark can catch it, a bull shark will eat it.”

Bull sharks are usually 12 feet long and are found in coastal water across the world. They are also one of the few shark species that can survive in fresh and even brackish water for a long time.

2. Giant Groupers

Scientific NameEpinephelus lanceolatus
Type of AnimalFish
RangeWaters of the Tropics and Subtropics
DietCarnivore

The giant grouper is mainly found on Australia’s coastlines. Remarkably, the grouper can eat an entire shark.

I didn’t believe this when my researcher found this information for me. But I watched the above remarkable video providing proof.

They have enormous mouths and about seven rows of sharp teeth in their lower jaws, enabling them to eat sharks and other fish.

Furthermore, this predator is about 8 feet long and is the largest species in the reefs. It is estimated that the largest grouper ever spotted weighed about 800 lbs. 

Groupers are hermaphrodites which attain sexual once they reach 20 years of age. Moreover, they have the longest lifespan of all fish species, reaching about 50 years of age. 

3. Great Hammerhead Sharks

hammerhead shark
Scientific NameSphyrna mokarran
Type of AnimalFish (Sharks)
RangeWaters of the Tropics and Subtropics
DietCarnivore

The great hammerhead shark can grow up to 20 feet long and reach a weight of close to 1,000 pounds.

The hammerhead hunts and eats smaller shark species as well as stingrays. In fact, this isn’t just sporadic. Because sharks and rays are central to their diet, they’re called “shark and ray specialists”. 

This predator has eyes on either side of their strange-looking heads, making them easy to spot. They are called hammerheads because their flat heads closely resemble a hammer.

The great hammerhead is classified as a critically endangered species by the IUCN red list.

4. Great White Sharks

great white shark
Scientific NameCarcharodon carcharias
Type of AnimalFish (Sharks)
RangeWaters of the Tropics and Subtropics
DietCarnivore

Great white sharks can reach more than 20 feet in length, making them competitors to the hammerhead as two species of large sharks.

These sharks have huge mouths filled with 300 knife-like teeth, white undersides, and gray bodies.

Great white sharks eat any fish that comes their way, including small sharks. This predator is involved in almost half of all shark attacks on humans as well.

With their incredible speed, they can launch themselves out of the water to catch prey floating on top.

5. Humans

human
Scientific NameHomo Sapiens
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeWorldwide
DietOmnivore

Asian nations are big consumers of shark meat and shark fins. People eat shark meat due to the high yield of meat that can be gotten based on the shark’s body weight.

However, it is legal to consume shark meat in many countries worldwide, including the United States of America. 

It’s a cultural taboo to consume shark meat in many western nations because, often, sharks are caught purely for their fins. The sharks are then cruelly released to die without their fins to help them navigate

Another thing is that research shows shark meat could contain a significant amount of mercury in some cases. And this also contributes to the decline in consumption of shark meat amongst Americans.

Nevertheless, humans are still big predators of sharks due to the economic value of shark fins in parts of the world.

6. Orcas

orca
Scientific NameOrcinus orca
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeWaters of the Temperate Zones, Tropics and Subtropics
DietCarnivore

This whale is easily distinguishable due to its black-and-white patterned body and white spots resembling eyes on the side of its head.

Orcas will not hesitate to eat any shark species they come across. Orcas like to gash the great white open and eat their fatty liver.

As a case study of the effect orcas can have on shark populations, scientists also suspect that orcas are responsible for the great white shark’s disappearance from the waters of False Bay, close to the coast of Cape Town.

Orcas are cosmopolitan species found in all oceans of the world. However, they are not found in some parts of the Arctic Ocean and the Baltic and Black seas.

7. Tiger Sharks

Scientific NameGaleocerdo cuvier
Type of AnimalFish (Sharks)
RangeWaters of the Tropics and Subtropics
DietCarnivore

Tiger sharks are recognized by the vertical stripes that run the length of their body and are similar to tiger stripes. 

Tiger sharks eat anything that fits in their mouths hence the nickname “wastebasket of the sea.”This shark species is well-known for hunting and eating baby sharks.

These sea creatures are found in shallow coastal water in most parts of the world.

On average, tiger sharks can be 14 feet in height and are considered the second most dangerous shark to humans after the great white sharks. 

How Sharks Defend Themselves from Predators

Here are three ways sharks defend themselves from predators:

1. Physical Defence

When sharks are under attack, they utilize various tactics to defend themselves. With a combination of strong physical blows and vicious bites, sharks confront, confuse, and tear apart their enemies. 

In some cases, a good offense is the best defence. Thus, sharks often rely on fighting back against potential enemies, biting them with their sharp teeth.

2. Camouflage

Camouflage is when animals successfully blend with their surroundings to prevent predators or prey from spotting them. 

Sharks are grey-colored which camouflages them in the ocean, just like many marine animals. Moreover, they are darker at the top, so when a predator looks down at a shark, the shark’s color blends with the ocean’s dark depths.

3. Escaping the Situation

The same skills that make sharks excellent predators also allow them to defend themselves. Sharks are particularly fast swimmers, and they use their speed to escape potentially dangerous situations. 

Conclusion

While sharks are toward the top of the food chain and eat many other sea creatures, they also need to watch their tails to protect themselves from other predators. Animals that eat sharks include orcas, other sharks, humans, and giant groupers. Sharks that eat other sharks include great white sharks, bull sharks, and tiger sharks.

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