Dozens of Black Tip Sharks Swarm a Beach in a Furious Feeding Frenzy

Written by Micky Moran
Updated: October 5, 2023
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Key Points:

  • Blacktip sharks typically live in seas around the world with subtropical or tropical climates.
  • Feeding frenzies are a common way for adults to eat.
  • About 90% of this shark’s diet is fish.

Shallow waters offer a balanced home for many aquatic species, including the black tip shark. Found along warm coastlines, this shark’s pectoral, dorsal, and tail fins give them away. They don’t look to humans as a food source, but stay away if you see a feeding frenzy; they become quite aggressive!

A Maldives Feeding Frenzy

The YouTube video at the bottom of this page features a view of the Vilamendhoo Maldives, showcasing these feeding habits firsthand. While her video first follows a great blue heron walking along the coast, it pans over to a group of feasting black tip sharks.

Many of the sharks are no more than a few feet long, slithering along the shallow coast as groups of fish move around. Anytime the slightest movement happens, the sharks pick up the pace, even going after the heron several times. As soon as the frenzy appears, the group settles down and creates a little more distance from the beach.

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Where Do Black Tip Sharks Live?

Most aggressive sharks - blacktip shark

Blacktip sharks become quite dangerous and aggressive during feeding frenzies along the coast.

©Gino Santa Maria/Shutterstock.com

Blacktip sharks love the warm tropical and subtropical waters, allowing them to feast near the coast or in the ocean’s deep waters. Even brackish habitats provide comfortable waters for these sharks to thrive. Researchers recorded sightings as far north as Massachusetts, extending to the southern shores of Brazil. They migrate a short distance to warmer waters during winter weather. 

Within Mexico’s bordering waters, black tip sharks live within the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, all areas of the Indian Ocean, and other waters around the world. However, they don’t venture any lower than 98 feet below the surface because their natural predators – great white sharks and tiger sharks – roam these areas. Using shallow water affords the sharks more protection in muddy bays, lagoons, and coral reefs.

Do Black Tip Sharks Normally Swarm to Feed?

Swarming to feed is normal behavior for these sharks. They are fast and energetic as they weave through the water to feed. The most common time to see swarming to feed is during the summer. However, only adults venture into these swarming groups, while younger sharks stay out of high-density areas. Juveniles are far too timid to get a bite to eat in active swarms.

What is the Normal Diet of the Black Tip Sharks?

Most black tip sharks have a heavily concentrated fish diet. However, they aren’t picky. Their diet includes a broad range of fish like anchovies, herring, and mackerel. They sometimes even eat smaller sharks, crustaceans, and manta rays.

What’s the Size of a Black Tip Shark?

On average, a black-tip shark measures just under 5 feet long (4.9 feet). While seeing larger ones is rare, some reach a length of 9.2 feet. Their large fins look painted with a gentle black line along each edge.

These frenzies only include adult sharks since juveniles are too nervous to fight for their food.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Vladimir Wrangel/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Micky Moran is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering mammals, travel, marine life, and geography. He has been writing and researching animals and nature for over 5 years. A resident of Arizona, he enjoys spending time with family, going on adventures across the United States with his wife and kids by his side.

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