Shark Predators: What, Why, How, And Several Facts


Sharks are gorgeous, dangerous creatures of the sea. But are they hunted upon by other sea creatures? Let’s find out.

Sharks usually do not have any natural predators, but sometimes, smaller shark species are preyed upon by orcas and large sharks. In some instances, sharks are also attacked by dolphins. Sharks, in turn, prey on invertebrates, fishes, smaller sharks, and penguins. Some sharks also prefer eating plankton, algae, and other plant-based food items. 

Image Credits: “Shark” by steve.garner32 is licensed under CC BY 2.0

There is endless speculation about sharks and their predators. Let us take a look at some of the most commonly asked questions in this regard.

Do sharks have predators?

Image Credits: “Killer Whale jumping” by milan.boers is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Sharks are magnificent oceanic animals that hunt for a living. But do they have predators as well? Let’s find out.

Sharks have predators, just like any other marine animal. Their predator includes orcas or killer whales. Orcas are among the most dangerous predators found in the ocean and attack fishes, small sharks, and even the great white shark. Orcas usually kill the great white sharks to consume their liver, which is an energy source.

Due to them being one of the biggest predators of the sea, the killer whale has acquired the reputation of being highly aggressive, even to humans.

Sharks apex predators

You might have often heard the term apex predators. But, do you know what it is and how it relates to sharks? Let’s find out.

Sharks are usually called apex predators because they only have a couple of natural predators in their habitat. As such, they are not as vulnerable as other sea creatures and feed on other animals who lie below in the food chain. They also remove weak and sick animals from the waters, thus ensuring ecological balance.

Therefore, as apex predators, sharks play an important role in regulating the balance of the ecosystem.

Shark natural predators

One question that frequently comes up with regards to sharks is whether sharks have any natural predators. Allow us to tell you all about it.

Sharks have no natural predators except killer whales. Although killer whales, also known as orcas, have usually killed smaller sharks, there have been instances of them attacking great white sharks. They consume the liver of great whites, which is an excellent source of energy.

Of course, sharks are not safe around killer whales. Apart from sharks, they also eat fish and squid. We must mention here that killer whales land on the very top of the aquatic food chain. 

Whale shark predators

Image Credits: “Whale Shark” by Mike Johnston is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The whale shark is characterized by its unique color pattern and appearance. Let us together figure out if it has any predators.

Whale sharks have predators, the most dominant of whom are megamouth sharks, blue marlins, killer whales. There have also been reports of great white sharks attacking younger whale sharks. The thick skin and massive size of the whale sharks help them protect themselves against potential predators.

Surprisingly, whale sharks themselves are not voracious hunters, as their name would suggest. Instead, they are filter feeders who prefer a diet composed of plankton, algae, and other such food. 

Tiger shark predators

As some of you might already know, tiger sharks are macropredators. Let us learn whether these sharks have any predators themselves.

Since tiger shark is apex predator, they do not have any natural predators except orca or killer whale. Killer whales often engage with tiger sharks by pulling their bodies deep into the ocean and flipping them in an attempt to drown the shark. After that, they pull out the fins and disembowel the shark for consumption.

Needless to say, young tiger sharks often fall victim to several bigger sharks of the ocean, but adult tiger sharks seldom have any natural predators.

Hammerhead shark predators

Image Credits: “Hammerhead Shark” by bocagrandelasvegas is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Hammerhead sharks are characterized by their hammer-like head and distinctive snout. But do they have any predators? Let’s find out.

Hammerhead sharks have several predators, including tiger sharks, killer whales, great white sharks, and even humans. In turn, hammerhead sharks prey on fishes, crabs, shrimps, and other crustaceans and cephalopods. They are equipped with special teeth for biting and crushing both soft-bodied and hard-bodied prey.

The younger hammerhead sharks often fall victim to attacks by several shark species as well as adult hammerhead sharks.

Bull shark predators

Bull sharks are counted among the most dangerous sharks in the world. However, do they have any predators of their own? Let’s figure it out.

Bull shark predators include sandbar sharks, tiger sharks, and other bull sharks. Having said that, most bull sharks that fall prey to these varieties are not adults but young bull sharks. As far as adult bull sharks are concerned, they are believed to have no natural predators. However, they are still exploited for commercial use.

Surprisingly, the biggest threat that a dangerous creature like bull shark faces doesn’t come from other marine animals but from humans. They are often captured in fisheries or fished commercially.

Basking shark predators

Image credits: “basking sharks at porthcurno” by candiche is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Basking sharks are usually gray-brown in color, distinguished by their mottled skin. Let’s figure out if they have any predators. 

Basking sharks do not have many predators, but the chief among them are humans, killer whales, and other shark varieties. They are usually eaten by bigger sharks. However, the biggest threat basking sharks face comes from the possibility of accidents (such as damage done due to the collision of ships) and entanglement in fishing gears. 

In turn, basking sharks have a diet that is primarily composed of plankton. They also feed on shrimp and small fish.

Goblin shark predators

Goblin sharks swim in the deep sea and are distinguished by their long snout. Let us explore whether they have any predators.

There is little to no information about any potential predators of goblin sharks. However, there have been reports of blue sharks eating them. Most young goblin sharks may fall prey to adult shark species. However, adult goblin sharks are difficult to hunt down. 

The major threat faced by goblin sharks comes from fishing activities, entanglement in fishing nets, and so on.

Lemon shark predators

Lemon sharks are known for their gentle nature and friendly demeanor. Let us figure out who the predators of lemon sharks are.

Most adult lemon sharks have no predators. However, baby lemon sharks often fall prey to other sharks of the sea as well as killer whales. On the other hand, lemon sharks prey on stingrays, bony fish, and crustaceans. 

Two of the major threats lemon sharks face pertaining to overfishing and ocean accidents. Due to commercial and recreational activities, they also face the threat of habitat loss.

Greenland shark predators

Greenland sharks are massive animals that are also apex predators. Naturally, the question arises whether they have any predators? Let’s figure it out.

There are no known predators of Greenland sharks. This can largely be attributed to their large size, which makes them more of a threat to smaller sharks and other aquatic species. Although Greenland sharks are quite dangerous to sea creatures, they are seldom viewed as a danger to humans.

In general, Greenland sharks are not counted among the most hostile sharks. However, they are still voracious hunters, preying on invertebrates, fishes, and other animals.

Mako shark predators

Mako sharks, also known as shortfin mako sharks, have been classified as endangered. Let us together take a look at their predators.

Mako sharks are preyed upon by dolphins, bigger sharks, swordfishes, and in some cases, even killer sharks. However, most adult swordfishes only prey on young mako sharks. In turn, these creatures consume fish, smaller sharks, bluefishes, and tuna. Since mako sharks are fast swimmers, they are excellent hunters.

It is worth mentioning here that mako sharks are fantastic swimmers and can navigate through deep ocean waters with ease. Therefore, hunting for their prey and escaping potential predators is quite easy for them.

Do dolphins like sharks?

Image credits: “Dolphins” by ryn413 is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Dolphins and sharks are two of the most commonly found aquatic species. But, do they like each other? Let us find out. 

Usually, sharks and dolphins do not care about each other. They can easily swim side by side without attacking the other. However, there have been instances of dolphins attacking smaller shark species and acting aggressively towards the bigger species. Some dolphins also slam into sharks or attack the shark with their noses.

Generally speaking, most aquatic animals that are apex predators mind their own business and focus on hunting for their prey. But, sometimes, they can act quite aggressively towards each other.

Sharks vs. predators 

Sharks and their predators share a unique relationship as they are not always hostile towards each other. Let’s explore more about this dynamic.

Sharks are powerful animals that prey on vulnerable creatures like fishes, squids, etc. However, they are also preyed on by other aquatic animals like killer whales and dolphins. Sharks can generally co-exist with their predators and are only attacked when these animals feel threatened by them or do not find any other prey.

Safe is to say that this unique dynamic between sharks and predators helps maintain a balance in the ecosystem.

Conclusion 

Sharks are among the largest and most feared marine creatures. Although they usually do not hunt humans, they actively prey on sea animals, including fishes, crustaceans, cephalopods, and even smaller shark species. Most sharks are apex predators meaning they do not have any other natural predators, but some shark species fall prey to the killer whale. In addition, it is the younger sharks that are more commonly hunted and killed, even though they manage to use their teeth to defend themselves.

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