Are There Sharks in the Keys

Are There Sharks in the Keys?

Sharing is caring!

  • Are There Sharks in the Keys?
    • A lot of people ask us if there are sharks in the Keys. The answer is: yes, there are definitely sharks in the Keys!

If you are planning a trip to the Florida Keys, you may be wondering if there are any sharks present in the area. The answer depends on the type of shark you’re looking for. Nurse sharks, for example, are common in the area.

In fact, there are many different types of sharks that can be found in the waters around Florida. However, most of these sharks are not dangerous to humans.

The most common type of shark that you’ll find in the Keys is the blacktip shark.

These bottom-dwellers weigh several hundred pounds and grow up to 10 feet in length. They are relatively docile creatures and can stay motionless on the bottom of the ocean.

Their gills are able to allow water to pass through them, making them great targets for scuba divers and fishermen.

Lemon sharks

The main food source for Lemon sharks is crustaceans and mollusks, but they are also known to feed on smaller fish. They do not need to eat a large quantity of food to survive, and they can go for long periods of time without feeding.

This means that they are rarely dangerous to humans. In fact, there has never been a fatal attack on a lemon shark in Key West.

In comparison, the risk of being hit by a car is 45,000 times higher than the risk of getting bitten by a lemon shark.

Lemon sharks
Photo Credit: Albert kok

Lemon sharks are small and often found near the shore. In addition to their size, lemon sharks form loose social groups. Their brains are similar to those of birds and mammals, suggesting they are able to learn from social interactions.

They are also able to establish dominance hierarchies.

While lemon sharks are protected in Florida state waters, commercial fishermen still target them for their fins. The fins are valuable for export to Asia, and the skin is prized for leather.

However, lemon shark fishing in Key West is strictly catch and release. In addition, many shark fishing charters in Florida also practice catch and release.

Lemon sharks can be seen swimming in a variety of habitats. While their numbers are quite small, their distribution is extensive.

Adult lemon sharks congregate regularly off Jupiter, Florida in winter, for reasons unknown. The analysis of these aggregations could reveal important information about these creatures.

Blacktip sharks

In the Keys, you can see blacktip sharks as they swoop through the water. They are dark gray to brown above and white below. They are distinguished by their prominent black tips, which fade with age.

These sharks also lack a black anal fin, which is found on the spinner shark.

Commercial fishing and coastal development have threatened the species’ habitat. This species is often caught for its meat. The IUCN lists it as Near Threatened but is still considered a valuable resource for commercial fishermen.

Its meat is marketed as tasty and is also used to make shark fin soup.

Blacktip sharks
Photo Credit: Albert kok

Blacktip sharks are commonly seen in Florida. They are distinguished by black tips on their fins and are known to live in shallow waters.

They can reach a length of up to 8 feet and weigh 200 pounds. They are known to swim into mangrove swamps and river mouths.

There have been 42 documented Blacktip shark attacks in the Keys, but only one fatality. While many people are frightened of these sharks, they are generally not aggressive until provoked.

While Blacktip sharks primarily feed on small schooling fish, they also eat a variety of other fish. They often follow fishing trawlers and may eat a variety of other creatures.

They are known to prey on spinner sharks, skates, stingrays, and crustaceans.

Hammerhead sharks

A new study aims to learn more about hammerhead sharks in the Keys. Researchers are tracking the movements of hammerhead sharks, evaluating their habitats, and studying the predator-prey relationship.

These studies will also provide information to government fisheries managers, and help them protect the ecosystem.

Hammerhead sharks
Photo Credit: Marko Dimitrijevic

Hammerhead sharks are one of the most dangerous species of sharks in the Keys, and the watermen in the region have been scaring young kids for generations with tales of Big Mo, a supposedly huge shark with eyeballs the size of baseballs and a mass of almost 1,000 pounds.

While the legend has a lot of credibility, there is very little known about the Great Hammerhead’s habits and reproduction. Most of what we know comes from research done in laboratories.

Hammerhead sharks are usually light gray with a greenish tint, with a white belly.

Their distinctive head shape, called cephalofoil, may help the shark see better.

Its broad head can distribute its sensory pores more widely, which makes it useful for scanning the bottom for food.

Hammerhead sharks are critically endangered and their numbers have declined dramatically. Some of the reasons for their decline include overfishing and shark finning.

Sandbar sharks

The sandbar shark is a migratory species that is found in coastal waters throughout the world. Its slow growth and long gestation period make it easy to catch, but this trait can make it vulnerable to overfishing.

The shark is targeted by fishermen for its meat, fins, skin, and oil.

The population has suffered from overfishing and habitat loss, but it has recently begun to rebound due to better fishery management.

Sandbar sharks
Photo credit: Jeff Kubina

Sandbar sharks are migratory and spawn in shallow waters near the shore. They feed on bottom fish and shellfish. They reach sexual maturity at around age 13 and average 154.9 cm in length.

Depending on their habitat, sandbar sharks can grow to be two to two meters long, or about five to eight feet long.

Their body color varies from bluish-gray to brownish-grey, with a white or pale underside. They tend to form schools and are typically grouped together in clusters of two or more individuals.

The sandbar shark is one of the largest coastal sharks and the most common in the U.S. Atlantic coast. Its genus name, Carcharhinus, means “lead-nosed.”

This type of shark prefers sandy bottoms and feeds on fish and shellfish. They have large dorsal and pectoral fins and a graceful swimming pattern.

Tiger sharks

While scuba diving in the Keys, you may see tiger sharks. Although these powerful predators rarely attack humans, they can be dangerous, especially if they are in an area where people are snorkeling or diving.

Always give them space and make sure they don’t get too close.

Tiger sharks are the most dangerous sharks in the Keys, but they can also be incredibly fascinating. They can reach an impressive 16 feet long and weigh as much as a thousand pounds.

Although they are not the largest species of sharks, they are among the most dangerous.

Though not the largest species, Tiger sharks have been known to attack humans.

Tiger sharks
Photo Credit: Albert kok

Tiger sharks are requiem sharks.

They have dark-striped bodies and are the second-largest sharks in the ocean.

Their dark colors make them easy to spot, and they can grow up to a ton in weight. As such, they are among the most feared predators.

There are eight species of hammerhead sharks. These sharks vary in size and average 6 to 20 feet long.

While most are harmless to humans, the Greater Hammerhead shark can cause severe harm if provoked. This shark typically feeds on the ocean floor and is a frequent visitor to the Keys.

Blacktip sharks are easily identifiable by their black fin tips.

They are also one of the most common shark species in the Keys. They are very aggressive when hooked and give an incredibly hard fight. Often they leap to get free from the hook.

This added drama makes the experience of fishing with these sharks even more exciting. They can be found in any area of the Keys, and are most commonly found near shore.

Nurse sharks

Despite the name, nurse sharks are actually harmless to humans. They are typically found on local reefs. Although they are docile, they are still wild animals and should be respected.

Saturday winds will affect whether or not you’ll have a good time swimming with them.

So be aware of these factors and enjoy your time swimming with these amazing creatures!

Nurse sharks
Photo credit: Stevelaycock21

Nurse sharks are very common in the Keys. They are not commercially fished and their fins are not commercially available.

They are also generally not retained for human consumption but are sometimes used as crab bait. They can grow quite large, up to 10 feet in length.

However, the novelty of catching one quickly wears off. They are most often found on patch reefs and shallow reef edges.

The nurse shark is not particularly aggressive, and most of them will swim away when approached. However, there have been isolated incidents in which these sharks have attacked divers and swimmers.

Their jaws have a powerful vice-like grip and cannot be released except by surgical instruments.

The increasing popularity of ecotourism feeding operations has also increased the number of reported nurse shark bites.

Nurse sharks are the most common shark species in the Keys. While they can consume coral and shellfish, they prefer soft fish and squid.

They are grayish brown in color with a large fin tail that can reach up to a fourth of their overall length. These sharks are found in warm, shallow waters throughout the western Atlantic Ocean.

The Keys are the perfect location for observing nurse sharks because they are one of the few shark species that live so close to human activity.

Sharing is caring!

Scroll to Top