Shark Fast Facts


Black Tip Reef Shark

Black Tip Reef Shark

Below are some interesting facts about the populations of sharks on Koh Tao and around the globe:

KOh Tao Sharks

  • There are 5 species of sharks found around Koh Tao:
    • Black Tip Reef Shark
    • Bull Shark
    • Grey Reef Shark
    • Whaleshark
    • Leopard Shark
  • The largest populations of sharks on Koh Tao can be found in Shark Bay, and are most easily seen by snorkeling
  • Only 4 sharks attacks have been recorded in the Gulf of Thailand in the last 100 years, and all have been on fisherman. No divers or swimmers have ever been attacked by sharks on Koh Tao.
  • Whalesharks are most commonly seen during March and October, but can be found passing by the island all year. The best dive sites to see a whaleshark around Koh Tao are:
    • Chumphon Pinnacle
    • Southwest Pinnacle
    • Sail Rock
    • White Rock
    • Shark Island


A Black Tip Reef Shark on Koh Tao

A Black Tip Reef Shark on Koh Tao

Other interesting shark facts

  • The Whale Shark is the biggest fish in the ocean
  • Sharks hunt using 6 senses, all of the ones we are familiar with, plus they can sense the electrical flow in the neurons of other animals
  • It was recently discovered that Lemon Sharks return to the place of their birth in order to breed, about 15 years after leaving it.
  • Thresher Shark’s use their extra long tail to slap fish, stunning them and allowing for the shark to eat at is leisure.
  • The Oceanic White Tip shark was recently found to travel more than 1,900 km per year, and dive as deep as 1,082 m into what is known as the mesopelagic zone of the sea.
  • There are more than 350 species of sharks worldwide
  • Bull sharks can survive in both fresh and brackish waters, and will sometimes swim up rivers to feed.
  • Being top-predators, pollutants in the food chain (such as mercury and radioactive cesium) get concentrated in the fat and muscle of sharks, making their meat unhealthy for human consumption


Shark Life Spans


Shark by-catch from trawling fishing, from the Songkla Pier

Shark by-catch from trawling fishing, from the Songkla Pier

Animals which are long-lived and slow to mature or reproduce often cannot be harvested in a sustainable way (especially with 7 billion human now on the planet). The fact that some sharks can live for over 100 years demands our respect, as the human life span is only about 76 years. Let’s take a look at how long some of our local shark species can live for:

  • Whaleshark: unknown, estimated at 100+ years
  • Grey Reef Shark: at least 25 years
  • Bamboo Shark: about 25 years
  • Blacktip Reef Shark: up to 25 years
  • Bull Shark: 11-16 years



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