The Scariest Types of Sharks in the World

List Rules
Vote up the most terrifying species of shark you hope to never encounter in the wild.

If there's one thing Peter Benchley and Steven Spielberg taught us, it's that we are not the kings of the ocean. That title rests solely on the shark, which is the scariest fish swimming in the sea. There's something primal about a fear of sharks that makes pretty much any person in their right mind afraid of them. Shark attacks can cause fear and dread about going back in the water and the scariest types of sharks have kept more than their fair share of humans from ever taking a dive.

Some of the most dangerous shark species don't find themselves among humans often, but when they do, they may go from a docile animal swimming through the ocean to a ravenous feeding machine intent on biting and eating whatever they come across. These are the scariest kinds of sharks: the hungry ones. A hungry shark might not realize it doesn't prefer the taste of human flesh until it has already taken a sizable bite. The very size of their jaws is what makes some sharks scary, ugly, and dangerous to humans. Even if they don't eat you, they can do some serious damage.

Sadly, sharks should be more afraid of us than we are of them. We fish them out of the water so much, many species are endangered or simply extinct. Perhaps their aggressive behavior towards humans is justified in their eyes, but even if that's true, there are some seriously scary sharks swimming in the waters, and it's best to let them swim to themselves...

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  • 1
    1,215 VOTES

    Size: Tiger Sharks are quite large, capable of reaching lengths of up to 16.5 feet (5 meters)

    Location: Tropical waters across the planet

    Distinguishing Features: Most members of the species have dark stripes down its body, which resemble tiger stripes. These tend to fade as the shark matures.

    Why You Should Be Scared: Tiger Sharks are the second-deadliest sharks when it comes to human attacks. Their size and aggressive nature make their bites damaging to anyone unfortunate enough to cross their paths. They are known as the "garbage eaters" of the ocean due to their habit of biting and swallowing whatever they come across.

    This usually means you can find things like license plates and toilet seats in their stomachs. They will literally eat anything and when they school, they have been known to attack pods of Killer Whales.

    • Scientific Name: Galeocerdo cuvier
  • 2
    1,525 VOTES

    Size: Females grow slightly larger than males with an average length of 7.9 feet (2.4 meters) and 290 lbs. (130 kg) in weight.

    Location: Warm coastal waters across the globe to include brackish and fresh water.

    Distinguishing FeaturesThey don't stay in the ocean and will swim into freshwater. They can get fairly large and are very aggressive.

    Why You Should Be Scared: There you are swimming in your local river when a large shark decides to see what your leg tastes like! That's right, Bull Sharks often swim through brackish waters into rivers - and keep going. They have been found as far north in the Mississippi river as Alton, Illinois (700 miles from saltwater). They are also incredibly aggressive and will attack for no known reason. They make up the majority of near-shore shark attacks.

    In beaches, they have attacked in as little as 24 inches of water.

    • Scientific Name: Carcharhinus leucas
  • Great White Shark
    Photo: Wikipedia
    3
    1,354 VOTES

    Size: Females can grow up to 20 feet (6.1 meters) and weigh up to 4,200 lbs. (1,905 kg). Males tend to be smaller growing between 11 to 13 feet (3.4 to 4 meters). Some individuals have been noted to grow even larger with anecdotal sightings reaching upwards of 30+ feet in length.

    Location: All the world's oceans, but generally warmer waters keeping free of the northern and southern regions.

    Distinguishing Features: The largest jaws of any carnivorous shark with huge, serrated teeth. Great White Sharks can get very large and have a distinctive grey color with a white underbelly.

    Why You Should Be Scared: Great White Sharks are widely feared due to their frightening appearance and size. The book and film Jaws hasn't helped in alluding people's fears, though they don't often attack people. When they do, their bites are usually so severe, they result in appendage loss and death.

    The Great White Shark is an apex predator and while some people do swim alongside them, most know to jump into a cage before getting too close to these gigantic carnivores.

    • Scientific Name: Carcharodon carcharias
  • Size: 10 feet (3.2 meters) with a weight up to around 300 lbs. (135 kg) at their maximum. Some have been found to reach a length closer to 15 feet, (4.5 meters) weighing in at over 2200 lbs. (1,000 kg).

    Location: Warmer, temperate waters across the whole planet.

    Distinguishing Features: Their lower jaw has rows of teeth that curve back into the mouth making it easier for the shark to hold onto prey that somehow survives getting caught in there.

    Why You Should Be Scared: The Shortfin Mako shark is the fastest-swimming shark, making it capable of striking at their prey from far away at a very high rate of speed. They can reach a speed of 42 mph (68 km/h), making their strikes come out of nowhere.

    Given their size and mass, they don't even have to bite a victim to cause severe damage, but they often do bite and you absolutely don't want that. 

    • Scientific Name: Isurus oxyrinchus
  • Size: At their largest, they can weigh in at 190 lbs (86.4 kb) and be close to 10 feet (3 meters) in length.

    Location: Tropical and warm temperate seas across the planet.

    Distinguishing Features: Their most distinctive feature has to be the white tip atop their dorsal fin.

    Why You Should Be Scared: Oceanic Whitetip Sharks make up the dominant force during a feeding frenzy and their interest in disturbed waters means they are usually the first ones on the scene following a shipwreck or airplane crash. You don't want to find yourself in the water when these fish are nearby. They may be relatively slow-moving, but they are incredibly aggressive when they desire to feed.

    Sadly, humans are more of a threat to them than they are to us, as they make up the principal ingredient of shark fin soup.

    • Scientific Name: Carcharhinus longimanus
  • 6
    726 VOTES

    Sand Tiger Shark

    Size: Maximum length of around 10.5 feet (3.2 meters). 

    Location: Subtropical and temperate waters worldwide.

    Distinguishing Features: Sand Tiger Sharks are generally grey in color with reddish-brown spots on their backs. They have a sharp, pointy head and a bulky body.

    Why You Should Be Scared: While the Sand Tiger Shark has not caused any known human fatalities, it is widely feared by humans. This is most likely due to the nature of its teeth, which jut out from the bottom of their mouths outward.

    Their appearance is frightening to behold and while they have been known to attack humans on rare occasions, it has a generally docile disposition and is often placed in aquariums due to its ability to withstand captivity.