8 Sharks in the Indian Ocean

Scariest Shark - Ocean Whitetip
© iStock.com/NaluPhoto

Written by Jude Speegle

Updated: June 30, 2023

Share on:


Our planet contains five main oceans: the Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean, Pacific Ocean, Arctic Ocean, and Antarctic Ocean.

The Indian Ocean is named such due to the country of India being at the head of its breadth, so it made sense to call it after India. It is the third-largest ocean on our planet and also the breeding ground for the humpback whale. Of interest, too, are the sharks in the Indian Ocean. Here we will focus on 8 of them.

Picture graph of 8 sharks that live in the Indian Ocean.
Some of these sharks are more aggressive than others, but all are fearsome creatures!

Sharks are the apex predators of the seas, using their proficiency in hunting to their advantage. Read on to learn about 8 species of sharks that can be found in the Indian Ocean!

1. Blue Shark

A Blue shark in the Atlantic ocean near Pico (Azores Islands).

Blue sharks do not usually bite people; they eat mostly squid and other invertebrates.

©Anna L. e Marina Durante/Shutterstock.com

Blue sharks take the cake when it comes to the most common catch of the Indian Ocean sharks. A project monitoring species-specific levels in the European Union showed that they were among the most common shark to spot.

Blue sharks tend to live in tropical or temperate waters, needing those temperatures to regulate and stay alive. They have long pectoral fins expanding from their sides to help with their swimming and are usually light gray and blue to blend in with the water.

Regarding food, the blue shark eats mostly squid, along with other commonly found invertebrates. This includes shrimp, octopus, other small sharks, and more.

2. Bull Shark

bull shark

Bull sharks can survive in freshwater and saltwater.


Bull sharks are commonly found to be the most aggressive toward humans. They enjoy roaming coastal waters, especially the shallow areas where humans may enjoy swimming. The aggressive nature of these sharks means they may attack humans if they come across them. 

Bull sharks are characterized by the bull-shaped snout they carry, along with their confrontational attitudes. They are shorter and stockier, with two dorsal fins along their backs. Grey bodies with white underbellies are the usual appearance of bull sharks.

Everyday food choices for a bull shark include bony fish, stingrays, and smaller bull sharks. Yes, this shark tends to consume others of its kind. 

3. Dusky Shark

Dusky sharks are a gray, dusky color, and they blend in well with the sea.


Dusky sharks are known for their long tail fins and pointed snouts, roaming the ocean floor and snacking on fish and other animals. They are a gray, dusky color, and they blend in well with the sea.

These sharks bite humans if bothered but won’t attack them just for existing near them. They are popular sharks to catch for shark fin soup. 

Food can be a number of things, but dusky sharks tend to consume garbage if they come across it. Along with garbage, dusky sharks eat sea turtles, bony fish, stingrays, and cephalopods. 

4. Great Hammerhead Shark

hammerhead shark

The great hammerhead shark is critically endangered.


Great hammerhead sharks are defensive creatures, attacking when they feel threatened. It is possible to tell them apart from other hammerhead sharks because their head extends outward in a flat line instead of a shovel shape.

Like most sharks, great hammerheads have a diet that consists of invertebrates, bony fish, and other sharks. They are known for being master predators compared to other sharks.

These sharks are commonly sought after for shark finning because they have multiple large fins. They are considered critically endangered, though no specific legislation has been passed to protect them. 

5. Great White Shark

Great white shark

The great white shark is the media’s favorite aggressor.


Possibly the most well-known sharks, great white sharks have been represented in media many times over the years, almost exclusively in a negative light. This is because they grow to be among the largest sharks and are known for the ravenous ways they attack their food. They are known as great white sharks for their white underbellies and are gray on their topsides. These sharks also have large, cone-like snouts. 

Great white sharks’ diets consist of stingrays, tuna, dolphins, seals, sea otters, sea turtles, and more. They are not known to be aggressive and are pretty easygoing. They also do not seek out humans to eat, despite what the movies may say.

6. Oceanic Whitetip Shark 

Scariest Shark - Ocean Whitetip

Oceanic whitetip sharks have white-tipped fins.


Oceanic whitetip sharks are known as such because of the white tips of their fins. These sharks are one of the most common and abundant throughout the ocean. They are thought to be responsible for more shark bites than great white sharks, though it isn’t sufficiently recorded as such.

Their diet consists of bony fish and cephalopods like octopus and squid. Oceanic whitetip sharks will also feed on other small sharks, stingrays, sea turtles, and more. They are aggressive sharks when feeding, so it is recommended to stay away from them.

7. Silky Shark

Silky Shark found in Cuba

The silky shark has silky smooth skin.

©Sergey Dubrov/Shutterstock.com

The silky shark is known to be a smooth shark, which answers the debate of whether sharks are smooth or rough; they can be both. Silky sharks have smooth skin and come in light gray and white colors with long pointed fins.

These sharks prefer tropical, warmer waters and are very common in the Indian Ocean. They do not specifically hunt out anything, instead eating where opportunity strikes and preying upon what crosses their paths. This includes catfish, eel, tuna, sardines, mackerel, and more. They tend to herd groups of fish into corners and then go to town. 

8. Tiger Shark

tiger shark



shark has tiger stripe markings along its body.


The tiger shark can grow over sixteen feet in length and has dark stripes across its body, similar to a tiger’s markings. It is known to attack humans like great white sharks, though it fails in outmatching the other shark.

When it comes to feeding, the tiger shark will consume basically anything. It eats dolphins, sea turtles, jellyfish, sea lions, and other sharks. This is not the shark you want to run into while free diving.

Summary of 8 Sharks in the Indian Ocean

NameDietUnique Feature
Blue SharkMostly squid, but also shrimp, octopus, other small sharks, and other invertebrates.Most commonly caught.
Bull SharkBony fish, stingrays, and smaller bull sharks.Most aggressive towards humans.
Dusky SharkSea turtles, bony fish, stingrays, cephalopods and garbage.Popular for shark fin soup; roam the ocean floor.
Great Hammerhead SharkInvertebrates, bony fish, and other sharks.Master predators among sharks; often victims of shark finning.
Great White SharkStingrays, tuna, dolphins, seals, sea otters, sea turtles, and more.Large, but not aggressive; named for white underbellies.
Oceanic Whitetip SharkBony fish, octopus, squid, other small sharks, stingrays, sea turtles, and more.Common and abundant; aggressive when feeding.
Silky SharkEverything available including catfish, eel, tuna, sardines, mackerel, and more.Herd groups of fish into a corner, then feast.
Tiger SharkEverything available including dolphins, sea turtles, jellyfish, sea lions, and other sharks.Large and aggressive towards humans.

Share this post on:
About the Author

Jude is a writer both by trade and by heart. They have been writing since a very young age and have eight years of professional writing experience. Passionate about animals, Jude has three birds and three cats.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.