Can Sharks Jump Out of The Water?

You must see how sharks jump out of the water in different movies to capture their prey. However, this scene is mostly done by CGI. Apart from this, can sharks jump out of the water in real?

Yes, a shark can jump out of the water. However, not all sharks do so. Great white sharks jump out of the water to catch faster prey like seals.

This article will explain why, when, and how sharks jump out of the water.

What Is It Called When Sharks Jump Out of Water?

When sharks jump out of the water, it is commonly referred to as breaching. Breaching is a behaviour most commonly seen in larger species of sharks, such as great whites and tiger sharks. This is an impressive display of acrobatics which often looks like a shark launches itself completely out of the water and back down with a splash.

Breaching generally occurs when a shark is pursuing prey or showing territorial dominance. It has been suggested that this behaviour increases their success rate when hunting and intimidating their competitors.

shark at the shore

The exact purpose of breaching is still disputed amongst scientists. However, some theories suggest that the movement allows sharper turns while chasing prey or gives them access to areas they would otherwise struggle to reach by swimming alone. The force generated by breaching also allows them to travel faster than usual, which helps them catch fleeing prey with greater ease.

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Some scientists believe that it could also be used to detect vibrations caused by potential prey underwater, which might explain why it’s usually done at dawn or dusk when visibility underwater is reduced due to low light levels.

It’s estimated that only around 1% of all shark sightings involve breaching behaviour; however, it’s quite the spectacle when it does occur! The sight of this powerful marine animal launching itself out into the air is truly a mesmerizing experience for those lucky enough to witness it.

What Is the Reason for Sharks Jumping Out of Water?

There are many reasons sharks may jump out of the water, most of which are related to their behaviour as predators or as part of mating rituals.

One common reason is that they may be attempting to catch prey. Sharks can be seen leaping out of the water when they are pursuing a fast-moving food source, such as a small fish or seal. By jumping out of the water, the shark can launch itself at its prey more quickly and with greater force than if it were staying in the water.

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Sharks may also leap out of the water when they are looking for mates. During mating season, males will often launch themselves onto females to demonstrate dominance and initiate copulation. As discussed above, this activity is known as breaching and can often result in spectacular leaps from both genders.

In some cases, sharks may jump just for fun or out of curiosity. While there is no clear evidence that this is true, some researchers have theorized that sharks may be seeking new stimulation or testing habitats when they unexpectedly leap from the water’s surface.

They may also be chasing after food sources or trying to dislodge parasites from their skin by exposing themselves to air and sunlight for brief periods of time.

Finally, sharks have been known to breach due to stress or uncomfortable environmental conditions such as rapid changes in salinity or temperature levels. It seems likely that these animals rely on their ability to leave the water momentarily in order to escape unfavourable situations like these and find relief elsewhere in their environment.

How High Can a Shark Jump Out of The Water?

Sharks have been observed demonstrating some remarkable feats of athleticism, such as breaching the water’s surface. During a breach, a shark can propel itself out of the water and reach heights of up to 8-10 feet — that’s 2.4–3 meters — above the surface. While this is an impressive achievement, some sharks have been known to jump even higher!

Records show that certain species of shark can breach even 5 feet beyond the average height, reaching astonishingly high heights of 13-15 feet (3.9-4.5 meters) out of the water.

This task requires incredible strength and agility from these impressive predators due to their sheer size, weight, and body shape— all factors that make it hard for them to generate enough power and momentum to lift themselves so high out of the water!


But not all species are capable of this feat; for instance, hammerhead sharks have trouble jumping out of the water at all due to their heavy bodies and broad heads.

Still, regardless of their size or shape limitations, sharks can be quite a sight when they manage to breach successfully! Whether soaring majestically through the air or powering through waves with grace and speed, sharks remain one of nature’s most fascinating creatures — and one whose ability to jump out of the water never fails to amaze us.

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Which Sharks Can Jump Out of Water?

Sharks of the family Lamnidae, commonly known as mackerel sharks, are some of the most notorious species of sharks known for their ability to leap out of the water. The most famous member of this family is the great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias), which can often be seen breaching or jumping out of the water in pursuit of prey.

Other members of this family include mako sharks (Isurus oxyrinchus) and salmon sharks (Lamna ditropis), both of which are also capable of leaping out of the water.

Also Read: Do Sharks Come Close to Shore? [Know Why & When]

Mackerel sharks have several adaptations that allow them to jump out of the water. These adaptations include streamlined bodies, powerful tails, and large pectoral fins that help propel them upwards and give them direction while in mid-air. Their anatomy also supports their ability to breach. They have a flexible spine that allows their bodies to bend so they can cross their pectoral fins and gain stability during a jump.

Additionally, they have dense cartilage instead of bones, which makes it easier for them to twist and turn while airborne. Due to these adaptations, mackerel sharks have been observed leaping up to six feet above sea level!

The ability to launch into the air has several advantages for mackerel sharks, one being that it may make catching prey easier than if they were simply swimming in the open ocean; by taking a “flight path” towards their target, they might surprise an unsuspecting animal and thus increase their chances for a successful kill.

Also, breaching may be used as a way for males to impress females during mating season or even just as an expression — after all, these creatures often experience strong emotions, including excitement, pain, fear, and joy!

Is There Any Incident of Sharks Jumping on Boats?

On November 5, 2022, a fishing group off the coast of Whitianga in New Zealand was shocked to find a shark had actually leaped onto their boat. The unlikely incident occurred when the fishermen were out looking for snapper and kingfish.

The crew members reported that the shark was approximately 3m long – almost as long as the boat itself – and weighed around 120kg. It had jumped out of the water, completely clearing the side of the boat with one graceful leap. After some initial alarm, it became clear that the shark wasn’t viciously attacking them but instead was just disoriented and confused.

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shark jumping

In order to protect both themselves and the shark, they managed to carefully heave it back into the water using nets and ropes so that it could return safely to its original habitat. Thankfully no one was hurt during this extraordinary occurrence; however, it still remains unclear what caused such an unexpected event to occur!

Do Sharks Jump and Spin Out of Water?

Spinner sharks, which are found primarily in tropical and subtropical waters around the world, are named for their distinct habit of leaping out of the water and spinning up to three times before falling into the water again.

The behaviour is an adaptation that helps them catch prey, often small schools of fish. When they sense a school of baitfish near the surface, they will swim upward through the school with their mouths wide open while simultaneously spinning their bodies.

This allows them to take in more fish as they feed on their prey in a single pass. The spinning action also disorients and scares off any individual fish that may be trying to escape from the predators’ path. This method is so efficient that spinner sharks have been known to jump up to four meters out of the water in pursuit of prey!

The species has also been observed to exhibit this behaviour when not hunting for food. In some cases, spinner sharks have been seen repeatedly diving and spinning out of the water simply for fun!

Although scientists are still unsure why exactly this occurs, it has been hypothesized that it could be used for communication or even just as a way for these animals to play and let off steam. Spinner sharks are an incredible species, showing off amazing feats in and out of the water!


Now you understand which sharks jump out of the water and why they do so. I’ve also discussed which species leap and spin while breaching and what motivates them to break through the surface in this way.

Incredible as it may seem, certain shark species, such as the Great White Shark, are capable of leaping up to a remarkable 10 feet above sea level!

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