Are Black Tip Sharks Dangerous Or Aggressive?

Written by Emmanuel Kingsley
Published: September 20, 2022
Image Credit Joost van Uffelen/Shutterstock.com
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Blacktip sharks are large sharks that weigh an average of 150 pounds (68 kg) and grow as long as 8 feet (96 inches). They are a species of requiem shark and are found in tropical and subtropical waters all around the world. Blacktips are swift and energetic sharks with stout fusiform (think yarn-on-spindle) bodies.

These sharks are pelagic and feed mainly on small fish. Blacktips are commonly seen diving out of the water to attack schools of small fish aggressively, so it’s natural to wonder just how aggressive and dangerous they are to humans. Let’s take a look at how blacktips measure on the aggression scale.

Are Blacktip Sharks Aggressive?

Most aggressive sharks - blacktip shark
Blacktip sharks can become aggressive in the presence of food.

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Blacktip sharks can be an aggressive shark species. They are likely to become aggressive in the presence of food or when going after prey. They are also very aggressive to fishermen and anglers, causing many to go after them as trophy fish. However, despite this, the species is known for its curiosity.

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Are Blacktip Sharks Dangerous?

Although blacktip sharks are unintentionally dangerous, they could cause serious injuries.

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Although blacktip sharks will normally avoid humans, like all sharks, they will fight back if they feel cornered. Consequently, they can be dangerous and cause serious injuries and even fatalities. However, they do not knowingly approach humans. They are usually described as “unintentionally dangerous.” There has been only one recorded fatality of the 42 shark attacks from blacktip sharks.

Has A Blacktip Shark Ever Attacked A Human?

shark with a diver
There have been 42 unprovoked attacks by blacktip sharks.

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Blacktips are responsible for a significant amount of shark bites that occur in the USA. These sharks often come across humans accidentally as they prefer shallow waters when they migrate. If the human in the water is waddling noisily, the shark’s interest could be piqued, leading them to come and investigate. There have been 42 unprovoked shark attacks by this species.

Are Blacktip Sharks Good as Pets?

If you’re on the lookout for a pet shark, blacktip sharks might not be the best option for you. They aren’t commonly kept as pets except by large aquariums with the space and professional hands required to keep them happy and alive.

According to the Oceanographic Research Institute, blacktip sharks live for about 13 to 20 years. But they may not attain this age in captivity for several reasons. They require a suitable tank with a minimum capacity of 1,000 gallons and round ends.

Why Are Shark Attacks So Dangerous?

Although you’re more likely to die from a falling coconut or just falling, there’s still a distant 1 in 3.7 million chance that a shark will attack you. However, you might notice that there is a lot more hysteria about shark attacks, and this is largely because of how dangerous these animals can be.

One of the major reasons that sharks are dangerous is that almost every part of their bodies can cause serious injuries. While normal fish have soft scales, sharks have extremely sharp, V-shaped, teeth-like scales that can tear through human skin on contact.

Sharks also have multiple rows of serrated teeth that can tear skin with a mere graze. One fun fact about sharks is that they lose and replace about 35,000 teeth in a lifetime. Their teeth are just as strong as they look too.

Blacktips, for example, have a maximum bite force of 243.46 PSI, according to a 2006 study. This isn’t much stronger than humans’ who have a maximum bite force of 174 PSI. However, other sharks have much higher bite forces. The bull shark, for example, has a bite force of about 1,350 PSI, while the great white shark has a bite force of an outstanding 4,000 PSI.

Why Do Sharks Attack Humans?

Statistics from Tracking Sharks show that shark attacks are on the rise from the previous year, and it’s quite normal to wonder why these attacks occur at all. According to the ISAF, these attacks occur because human interest and interaction with sharks and their habitats increases as the population increases. In simple terms, more people are getting bitten because more people are entering their territories.

If you’d like to reduce your risk of getting bitten by a shark, you should avoid getting into the water if you’re bleeding. It’s also a great idea to avoid bright-colored clothing, as many species, such as blacktip sharks, are curious and can see color contrast. A number of bites also occur due to direct provocation from humans, so avoid any activities that can agitate or provoke sharks, such as spearfishing.

Up Next:

Are Tiger Sharks Dangerous Or Aggressive?

Are Whale Sharks Dangerous Or Aggressive?

Here’s Why Great White Sharks Are The Most Aggressive Sharks In The World?

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Sources
  1. Florida Museum, Available here: https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/shark-attacks/factors/species-implicated/
  2. Tracking Sharks, Available here: https://www.trackingsharks.com/2022-shark-attack-list/
  3. NOAA FISHERIES, Available here: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/species/atlantic-blacktip-shark