There are hundreds of shark species circling our waters around the world. From the rarest to the most common, we’re utterly fascinated by these incredible sea creatures and their unique characteristics, personalities and behaviours. At Deep Sea World, we love sharing our knowledge about different shark species and what sets them apart.
So, how well do you know your Whale Sharks from your Catsharks? Can you identify a species based on their size, shape and markings? Test the depths of your shark species with our fun quiz to see how much of a shark expert you are!
How many shark species are there?
There are over 500 shark species that we’re currently aware of, but there could easily be more living in deeper undiscovered waters. From Sand Tigers to Grey Nurse sharks – scientists and marine biologists have studied these creatures for a long time. And thanks to all their hard work, we can all learn about the characteristics and behaviours of hundreds of different shark species.
While it’s a common misconception that we should be scared of sharks, many are harmless to humans. In fact, humans actually pose a bigger threat to sharks rather than being the other way around. Popular films like Jaws have painted the picture that sharks should be feared and can be deadly, but this generally isn’t the case. So, there’s really nothing to be afraid of!
Another lesser-known fact about sharks is that they can vary wildly in size. When we think of or draw these sea creatures, we often jump straight into picturing Great White Sharks or Whale Sharks, but in reality, most species are much smaller. The average shark can be anywhere between 1.5 and 2.1 metres in length – which is very similar to the typical height of a human!
Which shark species can you see at Deep Sea World?
Here at Deep Sea World, we have three wonderful species of shark just waiting to be discovered by our visitors. Allow us to introduce these to you…
Also known as Banded Dogfish, Longtail Carpet Shark and Ridge-back, among many other names, you can find our Bamboo Catsharks in our Tropics exhibit. The Bamboo Catshark is believed to have originated in the Indo-West Pacific and can often be spotted off the coasts of Japan and northern Australia. These fascinating sharks prefer to lay low, typically enjoying depths of around 275 feet in coral reefs where they can find plenty of prey.
One of the most impressive characteristics of these sharks is that they have barbels around their noses which help them navigate efficiently. You can also spot the young sharks by their bold banded markings which eventually disappear as they grow up. So if you see a Bamboo Catshark without banded markings, it’s usually an adult.
Lesser Spotted Catsharks
As the name suggests, these sharks can be difficult to spot, but we challenge you to see if you can find our Lesser Spotted Catsharks in the Rockpool exhibit! Although this is the most commonly found shark in the UK, they’re difficult to spot in the wild and in aquariums because they tend to stick to algae, gravel and muddy bottoms.
Take a closer look to see if you can spot the slender, shark-shaped bodies of these creatures, which have blunt heads, rounded snouts, and small dorsal fins. These sharks are usually found in the northeast Atlantic Ocean, spanning from Norway and the British Isles to Senegal, but they’ve also been sighted in the Mediterranean.
Fun fact: Lesser Spotted Catsharks are nocturnal, but males and females prefer different environments during the day. While females tend to hide away in crevices and rocks, males prefer to lie on the seabed.
Sand Tiger Sharks
Our collection of Sand Tiger Sharks is definitely something to marvel at. We’re currently home to one of the largest collections of these friendly sharks, with six of them swimming around in our Underwater Tunnel exhibit.
Rarely seen due to their small size and declining population, Sand Tiger Sharks are a treat to see up close. The good news about these sharks is that they don’t pose any threat to humans – in fact, they have a playful nature which is fun to observe.
Our six Sand Tiger Sharks are all unique, from our largest, Tinkerbell, to Hook, Patch, Aaron, Scout and Lewis. Come along and meet them to see for yourself!
We hope you enjoy our interactive quiz testing you on some of the wonderful shark species from around the world. For more information about us or to book discounted tickets to Deep Sea World, see our visitor information page!