• Sharks

The Scariest Types of Sharks in the World

List RulesVote 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...

  • 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
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  • 6
    836 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.

      Does this shark terrify you?
    • 7
      908 VOTES

      Hammerhead Shark

      Size: 3 to 19.7 feet (0.9 to 6 meters) weighing in at upwards of 1,278 lbs (580 kg).

      Location: Worldwide coastal waters along coastlines and continental shelves.

      Distinguishing Features: There is literally nothing distinctive about hammerhead sharks... unless you count the rather obvious hammer-shaped head called a cephalofoil, which gives them their name.

      Why You Should Be Scared: Hammerhead Sharks swim in large schools of thousands of individuals. They can become incredibly aggressive when feeding, but don't often attack humans. Their size, strength, and bite can make an attack particularly damaging, but they don't often take more than a single nibble from a human. Unfortunately, a single nibble can be devastating.

      • Scientific Name: Sphyrna
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    • 8
      669 VOTES

      Bronze Whaler Shark

      Size: At their largest, they can grow to 11 feet (3.3 meters) in length.

      Location: Coastal waters throughout much of the planet.

      Distinguishing Features: They look like similar sharks, but it can often be distinguished by its distinctive bronze and brown coloring. Its upper teeth are hook-shaped and not directly pointed like most sharks.

      Why You Should Be Scared: Bronze Whaler Sharks don't often attack humans, but when they do, they are almost always completely unprovoked. When they do attack humans, they don't often result in fatalities, but rather, serious injury, which you might expect from a shark of this size.

      Their prevalence for warmer coastal waters means you have probably swum with them before... you just didn't know it.

      • Scientific Name: Carcharhinus brachyurus
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