Yes, there are sharks in the Maldives. With over 500 species, nearly 15-20 types of sharks can be found there. These can range from lethal and predatory to harmless and small.
The Maldives has several shark species, with the most well-known and frequently observed being the Blacktip Reef shark, Whale shark, Nurse shark, Lemon shark, Tiger shark, and Hammerhead. However, other species are not as widespread throughout the Maldives.
In this article, I will discuss the sharks in the Maldives, including their behaviours, habitats and other details.
Maldives is home to various types of sharks with different sizes and shapes. As previously mentioned, in total, there are around 15-20 shark species that can be found in the waters of Maldives. Here are the main types of sharks that you can encounter there:
Reef Sharks: (Blacktip Reef shark, Whitetip Reef Shark, Grey Reef Shark)
The Maldives is famous for its reef sharks, which are commonly spotted in shallow lagoons and on the outer reef slope. These shark species are relatively small and harmless to humans. They are usually curious and can approach divers but are not aggressive.
The Blacktip Reef shark is identified by its black tips on the dorsal and caudal fins. It is a common species found in coral reefs. The Whitetip Reef Shark, on the other hand, is identified by its white tips on the dorsal and caudal fins.
This species is nocturnal and is mostly seen hunting at night. Lastly, the Grey Reef Shark is identified by its grey colour and white belly. It is a dominant species and can be seen in groups patrolling the reef.
Whale sharks are the largest fish in the world and can be found in Maldives waters year-round, although there are better chances to spot them during the Southwest monsoon season (June to September).
These gentle giants feed on plankton and are harmless to humans. It is a popular activity for tourists to swim with these majestic creatures, but respecting their space and not touching them is important.
Nurse sharks are nocturnal and can often be found resting during the day, hidden in crevices or under reefs. They are relatively docile and are not considered a threat to humans. They have small mouths and do not usually attack prey larger than themselves.
Lemon sharks are found in the deeper waters of the Maldives. They are easily identified by their yellowish-brown colour and two dorsal fins. Lemon sharks are not considered a significant threat to humans and are not known to attack unless provoked.
Tiger sharks can be found in the Maldives but are less common than other species. These sharks are known to be aggressive and have been responsible for attacks on humans. It is best to avoid swimming in areas where tiger sharks are known to be present.
The Thresher shark is known for its long, whip-like tail, which it uses to stun its prey. They are quite rare in the Maldives but can be found in deeper waters. They are not usually aggressive towards humans.
The Zebra shark is a distinctive species, easily identified by its stripes. They are generally harmless to humans and can be found in shallow sandy areas.
Hammerhead sharks are a distinct species recognized by their flattened head resembling a hammer. Divers can often spot these sharks.
However, the scalloped hammerhead sharks, a rare species found in deep waters in the Maldives, also belong to the Hammerhead family. There have been very few reports of Hammerhead attacks on humans.
Silky sharks are found in the open ocean of the Maldives and are known to follow fishing boats. They are not considered to be a significant threat to humans.
Their grey bodies and silver tips identify silvertip sharks on their dorsal fins. They are a rare species found in the deeper waters of the Maldives. There is no significant threat to humans from Silvertip sharks.
Leopard sharks are a rare species found in the Maldives. They are not usually aggressive towards humans and can be found in shallow sandy areas.
Many people wonder whether there are great white sharks in the Maldives. However, the answer is no. In fact, if you ever see a great white shark in the Maldives, you would be considered incredibly lucky.
There are numerous reasons why great white sharks are not commonly found in the waters of Maldives. Let’s take a look at some of the most important reasons.
Maldives is an archipelago that is located in the Indian Ocean, southwest of India and Sri Lanka. This location is far from great white sharks’ natural habitat, typically found in cooler waters such as those near South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.
Great white sharks prefer cooler waters. They are warm-blooded animals and require cooler water to regulate their body temperature. The Maldives has warm water throughout the year, which is not conducive to the survival of great white sharks.
Maldives has implemented a complete ban on shark fishing since 2010. This has significantly increased the population of other shark species, but great white sharks are still not commonly found in Maldivian waters.
Great white sharks are apex predators, which means they are at the top of the food chain. They typically feed on seals, sea lions, other sharks, and various types of fish. Maldives does not have a large population of these prey species, which means great white sharks would not have a sustainable food source and would not thrive in these waters.
Maldives is a popular destination for tourists, many of whom visit the country for its beautiful beaches and crystal-clear waters. The potential presence of great white sharks in these waters could have a negative impact on tourism, which is why the government and local authorities have taken measures to ensure the safety of tourists.
Despite the fear that surrounds them, sharks are not aggressive creatures towards humans. In the Maldives, there have been no recorded shark attacks on humans, making it a safe destination for tourists to enjoy diving and snorkelling activities.
Are sharks in the Maldives dangerous? Well, as you know, the Maldives is home to a wide variety of shark species. Most of these species are not aggressive towards humans and are considered harmless.
Also Read: Are There Sharks in Portugal?
For instance, the blacktip reef shark is a common species found in the Maldives and is known to be docile towards humans. These types of sharks seldom venture beyond a specific area and are easily frightened off by strong movements, loud noises, or unexpected encounters.
In rare cases, some sharks may feel threatened and lash out, leading to an attack. For instance, the oceanic whitetip shark is an apex predator that can be found in the Maldives region.
Despite being non-aggressive most of the time, they may attack if they feel that their territory or food source is threatened. However, such attacks are incredibly rare and can be easily avoided with proper precautions and guidelines from experienced divers.
Moreover, the Maldives government has put in place strict policies to protect sharks and other marine life from human aggression. They have established marine protected areas where fishing and other human activities that may harm sharks are prohibited.
They also promote responsible tourism, encouraging visitors to treat marine life with respect and care and avoid activities that may harm them.
Is It Safe from Sharks to Dive in The Maldives?
Diving enthusiasts often visit the Maldives, a tropical paradise located in the Indian Ocean. However, many tourists are unsure about the safety of diving in this location and wonder if it is a risk-free activity. The answer to this question is nuanced and depends on several factors. In general, it is safe to dive in the Maldives, but certain considerations should be considered.
Firstly, there are over 500 different species of sharks globally, with only a few that pose a risk to humans. In the Maldives, the sharks are primarily reef sharks that are relatively harmless to humans. Reef sharks are often hesitant and will swim away if they feel threatened. Hence, the chances of encountering an aggressive shark in the Maldives are relatively low.
Moreover, many dive sites in the Maldives are located in shallow reef areas, where sharks typically do not venture.
Additionally, diving in groups and with experienced instructors is another way to ensure safety. Diving operators in the Maldives have strict safety protocols in place to avoid shark encounters. They will often choose dive sites away from shark habitats.
Despite the low risk of shark encounters, taking precautions while diving in the Maldives is still advisable. Divers should avoid sudden movements, touching or provoking sharks, and maintain a reasonable distance from them. It is also advisable to wear appropriate diving gear and follow diving guidelines to ensure safety.
If you’re an adventure lover and fascinated by marine life, then diving with sharks in the Maldives is an activity you don’t want to miss. This beautiful island nation in south India offers some of the world’s most incredible shark diving experiences. To make the most out of your diving experience, you should plan your trip between June and October.
During these six months, the waters of the Maldives become calm and offer excellent underwater visibility making it an ideal time for diving. Not only will you be able to swim with a wide variety of sharks, but you’ll also get to explore the breathtaking coral reefs and other marine life.
Hopefully, now you have detailed information regarding the sharks inhibiting in the Maldives. If you are planning a trip to the Maldives, remember that great white sharks are not common sights.
While there is no risk of a shark attack, take all necessary precautions while diving or snorkelling in these waters. With careful planning and expertise from local divers, you can rest assured that your experience will be both safe and enjoyable.
And most importantly, respect the sharks and their habitat. You do explore but do not disturb.