The 5 Largest Deep Sea Sharks In The World

Written by Colby Maxwell
Updated: April 28, 2023
© Peter Halasz / CC BY-SA 3.0 – License / Original
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Key Points:

  • The “deep sea” is generally referred to as anything below 1,000 fathoms or roughly 6,000 feet down. Deep sea sharks dwell at that depth.
  • While there are many species of shark that live near the service, there are many sharks that live deep below the service.
  • The Greenland shark is one of the biggest deep-sea sharks in the world.
Biggest Fish: Greenland Shark
Greenland sharks are the only true sub-Arctic shark and the only shark that can tolerate Arctic temperatures year-round.

©Dotted Yeti/

Sharks are one of the most variable groups of animals in the world! They can be little, big, terrifying, or even scary! Most of the sharks that humans interact with are epipelagic, meaning they live in the top region of the ocean, where most human activities happen.

Even though many species of shark reside near the surface, an entire world of deep-sea sharks also live and thrive, only in the darkness of the depths. Today, we will be looking at some of these sharks, particularly the big ones!

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Let’s discover The 5 Largest Deep Sea Sharks in the World.

What Are Deep Sea Sharks?

The “deep sea” isn’t a technical term, but it can still be very descriptive when grouping different species. The ocean is split into different layers, with the deepest layer being called the “hadalpelagic” zone, which is 20,000-36,000 feet down. The “deep sea” is generally referred to as anything below 1,000 fathoms or roughly 6,000 feet down. No sunlight reaches this layer, and most of the creatures are unique and adapted to a life of survival in the crushing weight of all that water.

It is amazing that anything can survive at the deepest depths of the ocean as there is no light whatsoever and the intense pressure from the weight of the water above is beyond anything we can imagine. The pressure is so great in the deepest parts of the ocean that is it actually easier to put a spaceship on the moon than it is to explore the depths.

It was once thought that nothing lived in the deep ocean because of the lack of light and pressure. However, improving technology has finally allowed us to explore some of these waters and the reality is that they are full of life. The fact that such a wide variety of creatures live in the deep waters is one of nature’s most astounding phenomena.

Today, we are going to take a look at sharks that live in this dark and watery world. If the deep sea is anything below 6,000 feet, a deep sea shark would be a shark that ventures in or around this border. Beware: many of them are truly wild!

A list Of The 5 largest Deep-Sea Sharks In The World

5. Greenland Shark

The 5 Largest Deep Sea Sharks in the World
The Greenland shark is one of the longest-living animals in the world.

©Dotted Yeti/

Greenland Shark
DepthCruises around 7,200 feet
Length24 feet

The Greenland shark is one of the most famous sharks in the world for a few reasons. First, they are quite a mystery! These sharks live in the extremely cold waters around the northern pole, hence the name “Greenland” shark. They are extremely slow-moving in order to combat the energy requirements in the cold but are still considered predatory by some scientists. Generally, these 24-foot giants stay around 3,900 feet, but they are often recorded at depths of up to 7,200 feet. Incredibly, these sharks are toxic, but special preparation methods in Iceland have turned them into a delicacy in the country.

4. Megamouth Shark

The 5 Largest Deep Sea Sharks in the World
Less than 100 megamouth sharks have ever been seen.

©Opencage / CC BY-SA 2.5 – License

Megamouth Shark
DepthUp to 15,000 feet
Length23 feet

The megamouth shark is one of the biggest mysteries in the world of sharks. It was only discovered in 1976, and since then, less than 100 specimens have ever been seen, let alone caught. These sharks are known as filter-feeding sharks, along with the whale and the basking shark. The megamouth has been seen around 600 feet, but scientists believe they hunt in vertical columns, meaning they move up and down instead of around when looking for food. It’s estimated that these sharks regularly dive up to 15,000 feet in search of plankton and jellyfish.

3. Bluntnose Sixgill Shark

The 5 Largest Deep Sea Sharks in the World
The bluntnose sixgill shark is believed to be more closely related to the primitive Triassic shark than any other shark species in existence

©NOAA Ocean Explorer from USA / CC BY-SA 2.0 – License

Bluntnose Sixgill Shark
Depth6,152 feet
Length16 feet

The bluntnose sixgill shark often referred to as the cow shark, is an ancient shark that resides in the deep regions of the ocean. These sharks have a unique appearance due to their ancient roots, with many scientists believing they are closer to the primitive Triassic sharks than any in the modern age. As their name suggests, they have six gills instead of the standard five. They are often seen in coastal waters, around 300 feet at times, but migrate down deep in search of food, often to depths of 6,152 feet. Additionally, the sixgill shark can grow up to 16 feet long, making it one of the largest around.

2. Pacific Sleeper Shark

Animals that live near volcanoes – sleeper sharks
The Pacific sleeper shark can be found in the depths of the North Pacific


Pacific Sleeper Shark
Depth6,600 feet
Length14 feet

The Pacific sleeper shark belongs to a group of sharks known as “sleeper sharks,” along with the Greenland shark. Pacific sleepers are slightly smaller (around 14 feet) than Greenland but are extremely similar in many other ways. They generally inhabit the deep regions in the north Pacific and feed on other bottom dwellers, namely the giant octopus.

1. Goblin Shark

The 5 Largest Deep Sea Sharks in the World
These sharks are the oldest living examples of ancient sharks.

©Dianne Bray / Museum Victoria / CC BY 3.0 AU, Wikimedia Commons – License

Goblin Shark
Depth4,490 feet
Length13 feet

The goblin shark may just be the creepiest-looking shark on the list! These sharks are ancient and often regarded as living fossils since they are the oldest species of shark alive. They first evolved 125 million years ago and look like they haven’t changed at all. They have a massive horn on their foreheads, haphazard teeth sticking out at odd angles, and a set of beady eyes. Also, they often appear pink from their near-transparent skin and layers of fat.

Summary Of The 5 Largest Deep Sea Sharks In The World

RankSharkSize in LengthDepth Found
1Greenland Shark24 ftAround 7,200 feet
2Megamouth Shark23 ftUp to 15,000 ft
3Bluntnose Sixgill Shark16 ft6,152 ft
4Pacific Sleeper Shark14 ft6,600 ft
5Goblin Shark13 ft4,490 ft

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The Featured Image

Dumbest Animals in the World: Goblin Shark
The Goblin shark is nicknamed "hobgoblin shark" in Spain and "imp shark" in France.
© Peter Halasz / CC BY-SA 3.0 – License / Original

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About the Author

Colby is a freelance writer from Charlotte, North Carolina. When he isn't distracted by his backyard birdfeeder, you can find him camping, exploring, and telling everyone around him about what he's recently learned. There's a whole world to learn about and Colby is content to spend his life learning as much as he can about it!

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