Shark territory: Types of sharks and where to find them

Kaitlan Tseng/Senior Staff

While some of you may plan on going in blind, others may not be ready to dive into Shark Week headfirst. With this in mind, the Clog has created a list of uniquely different sharks — some easy to find, others not as much. We’ve roughly ordered these mysterious fish from most likely to least likely to be found out in the open sea. In the spirit of Shark Week, we give you six fearsome shark species and tips on where you might be able to catch a fleeting glimpse of them.

  1. Great white shark: Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean off African coast, Mediterranean Sea

This gilled giant is known for its several rows of teeth and impeccable sense of smell. Aggressive hunters, great whites can take down large prey, and they’re found in oceans all over the world. Great whites can live in warm waters, but they’re often found in the cold waters of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. They stay deep, partial to the open ocean, but they do come near shore to bear young. So if you’re ever off the California coast, look out for gray or blue backs and starkly white bellies. 

  1. Bull shark: Atlantic Ocean off American and African coasts, Eastern North American rivers, Indian Ocean off African coast, Indonesian islands

This is a hostile shark, known to even eat young members of its own species. And if this behavioral tendency isn’t chilling enough, the bull shark is both a freshwater and saltwater shark. Not only are bull sharks found off the American and African coasts of the Atlantic Ocean and the African coast of the Indian Ocean — they’re also found in the murky waters of the rivers and lakes of the surrounding regions, too. 

  1. Hammerhead shark: Coasts across the world

This shark’s appearance is self-explanatory and iconic. The hammerhead shark is found in warm, tropical waters across the world. They tend to stay in shallower waters, near reefs, which is where you’re likely to see them searching for food. Hammerhead sharks are incredible predators, and they have their 360-degree sight to thank for that.

  1. Mako shark: Pacific Ocean off American coast; Pacific Ocean near Russia, New Zealand and Australia

Capable of swimming up to almost 20 miles per hour, the mako shark is infamous for being the fastest shark of them all. Their massive teeth stand out, and they can jump up to almost 30 feet above the surface. They’ve even landed in fishing boats. But makos are less likely to be seen because they live farther from the coast than most sharks. Still, they can be seen off the American coasts bordering the Pacific Ocean and along the part of the Pacific that stretches between Russia and Australia. 

  1. Megamouth shark: Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, Atlantic Ocean

Black or dark brown, this shark species is revealed by its enormous head and mouth. But the megamouth shark is an elusive kind, so it’s hard to say for sure where to locate it; it swims deep. However, it’s been seen off the South American coast of the Pacific Ocean, near Brazil and off the coasts of Southeast Asian countries, such as Indonesia and the Philippines. 

  1. Goblin shark: Atlantic Ocean near North and South American coasts and African coast; Pacific Ocean near Japan, New Zealand and Australia; off the coast of Portugal

The goblin shark’s ancestors are from the Cretaceous period, which makes it appear frighteningly prehistoric. Its long snout and detached jaw make it a terrifically unique-looking shark. Goblin sharks live deep in the ocean — between roughly 4,265 to 4,494 feet deep — so they’re extremely unlikely to be seen out on the open ocean. However, this species has been spotted in waters across the world.

Sharks are deeply misunderstood creatures. We hope this list has not only been informative, but has also inspired an appreciation or even curiosity about sharks and their territories. Visit the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week this week for more gripping tales about these fantastic aquatic beasts!

Skylar Sjoberg is the assistant blog editor. Contact Skylar Sjoberg at [email protected].