The Maldives is home to many different types of sharks, including some ‘big sharks’. You can find Tiger, Bull, Hammerhead and Thresher sharks here. But these sharks are often found outside the Atolls or in deep channels. We rarely see them inside Atolls. But we do get sharks within the Atolls, we call them reef sharks.
All sharks and rays are cartilaginous fish. They do not have any bones in their bodies. Their skeletons are made of cartilage (what we have in our nose and ears). This makes them light, but also more mobile, they are able to move their bodies in different ways allowing for a broader range of movements.
Sharks do not have a swim bladder (a little pocket of air most other fish have that keep them buoyant and help with swimming around). This means that sharks are negatively buoyant, if they stop moving then they are going to sink. If the sharks stop swimming, then they are also not pushing oxygenated water over their gills, meaning that they wouldn’t be able to breath and would effectively drown. However, in science there is always the exception, some sharks and rays are able to become stationary, and have developed ways to pump water over their gills allowing them to breath.
Most reef sharks are smaller, in saying that our nurse sharks can still get over 3 meters. Here is a brief description of the sharks you may see while oh holiday here
Black tip – Adult Black tips we usually find on the top reef. They get up to 2 meters but are very shy, they will most likely swim away once they see you. You can spot the babies in the shallow shores of the lagoon. These sharks are usually grey in colour and have a black tip on their dorsal fin.
Nurse shark – During the day nurse sharks are often seen sleeping in caves or under big blocks of coral. These are a species of shark that can stay stationary and are able to pump water over their gills. These sharks are more flattened and can get to over 3 meters long.
Grey reef sharks – These sharks are common to see a little deeper, so if you are a diver then you have a better chance of seeing them. We have a few dive sites where we often see them.
Whale sharks – You have to be very lucky to see a whale shark in Baa Atoll. If we do get them, it is in the Manta season. They grow to a very large size upwards of 12 meters! But the ones we encounter are mostly juvenile males and are around the 5 – 7 meter mark.
Guitar sharks – Guitar sharks are the most peculiar looking sharks; they have a flat face almost ray like and a long body. They are found along the sandy bottom. It is extremely rare to see these sharks, so much so that some of our dive team are still yet to see them!
White tip reef shark – Depending where you are in the Maldives these sharks can be plentiful, but in our case they are not very common. They look similar to a black tip, slightly flatter body, but instead of a back tip they have a white tip on their dorsal fin.
Check out our shark gallery here!