Continue reading for our analysis...
- The below video shows a group of fishermen in Whitianga, New Zealand, who are surprised when a giant mako shark lands on the front of their boat, attracted to their bait in the water.
- There are two living species of mako shark: the longfin and shortfin mako sharks. The longfin mako is a slightly larger shark and able to grow up to 14 feet long. The shortfin mako is the fastest shark in the world, able to reach speeds up to 46 mph, and grow up to 13 feet.
- Mako sharks typically only attack fish, and even with their larger size they are generally not dangerous to humans.
Fishermen always look to catch the largest fish but with their rods and not their boats. These fishermen in Whitianga, New Zealand were in for a shock when a giant mako shark jumped into their boat. Eventually, the shark was able to wriggle back into the water, but it was a breathtaking sight to see while it landed aboard.
Mako sharks are carnivorous predators and are able to sense wounded prey from far in the water like other sharks. The bait in the water used by the fishermen is what attracted this shark to jump in the boat. Mako sharks generally only attack fish, and even with their larger size, they are generally not dangerous to humans. Only nine unprovoked attacks have been linked to the mako sharks, with the attacks dating as far back as 1580.
How Big Do Mako Sharks Get?
There are two living species of mako shark: the longfin and shortfin. The longfin mako is a slightly larger shark and able to grow up to 14 feet long, while shortfin makos grow up to 13 feet. Weight for this shark typically ranges from 130 to 300 pounds, but the largest ever recorded weighed 1,221 pounds.
The two shark species are very similar, but there are slight differences in their appearance. The pectoral fins of the longfin mako shark are larger, and they also have larger eyes. The two sharks’ bodies and the underside of their snout are also different between the two species.
While the longfin mako shark is the larger species, the shortfin mako shark is the faster one. The shortfin mako is the fastest shark in the world, and with its strong swimming is able to reach speeds up to 46 mph.
Where Do Mako Sharks Live?
Mako sharks have a wide geographical range. They can live in all types and categories of large water bodies. Mako sharks are found in tropical waters, temperate waters, and subtropics. Like many other sharks, they prefer warm waters.
The shortfin mako shark prefers the deep parts of the sea. Shortfin mako sharks can spend considerable time deep in the water, as much as 400 feet below.
There are two groups of shortfin mako sharks. One group loves Atlantic Ocean waters, including the Gulf of Mexico to the northern parts of America. The Texas part of the Caribbean Sea also has several mako sharks swimming and dwelling in them. The second group is seen in the Pacific waters. When traveling the waters of the Columbia River, you can find this shark species in Chile. California also has a large number of this species off the west coast.
The longfin mako shark mainly prefers the tropics, but they are quite comfortable in temperate and tropical waters. The Atlantic group lives in the Caribbean Sea and from northern Cuba to Florida. The eastern coast of the same ocean has most of this group dwelling in it. You can also find some in the seas bounding West Africa.
How Long Do Mako Sharks Live?
Mako sharks have an average life span of about 28 years. The shortfin species live longer, about 30 to 35 years in the seas. However, the longfin has an average span of 25-29 years. Both species have a lifespan that falls within the broad range of the shark groups.
Unfortunately, despite all their evasiveness and speed, the numbers of mako sharks are declining to the point of being endangered. They are considered the best of all sharks to eat, so it is not surprising how they have been heavily fished to the point they currently are. It has become a regulation in the United States to return any mako shark caught during fishing.
Mako Shark vs. Great White Shark: Which Is More Dangerous?
The mako shark is best known for its speed, making it the fastest shark in the world. While they don’t go out of their way to attack humans, they are often ranked among the most dangerous and aggressive sharks.
Mako sharks do not go out of their way to ambush or prey on humans. There have only been 9 recorded shortfin mako shark attacks on humans, with a third of those fatal. They also have been accused of 20 boat attacks. Many of these attacks happen to fishermen when the mako gets caught on a line and is pulled aboard.
On the other side, great white sharks have inflicted 333 attacks on humans, with 52 of them being unfortunately fatal. These sharks also are reported to bite or repeatedly bash small boats with their snouts and can cause enough damage to make them sink. Despite the popular fear of the Great White Shark, this fish doesn’t actually like the taste of humans and does not confuse us for a seal. Attacks are often in low-visibility waters and when the shark’s senses are impaired.
Based on bites alone, the great white shark is the more dangerous.
Is It Normal for Sharks to Attack Boats?
Even with their size, mako sharks are able to breach the water and sometimes grab prey from below. Large sharks like great whites that can weigh over 2,000 pounds are also able to breach out of the water, and it is an amazing sight to see. Sharks are able to swim fast, and their jumping ability is why they can land on boats like in the video.
Sharks attacking boats may sometimes occur when crossing their waters. Confused when swimming, sharks may be attracted to boats because of their shadows, vibrations, and the electrical pulses they give off.
There are thousands of species of sharks that live in the ocean, and they have roamed the earth’s water for 400 million years. You may not want to get an up-close view of a shark as these fishermen did, but they are amazing fish.
Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.