How quickly can sharks swim? This query might cross your mind as you contemplate a shark video or more urgently as you are swimming or scuba diving and believe you have spotted a fin circling you.
Typically, sharks travel at a leisurely 1.5 mph (2.4 kph) while cruising the ocean in search of prey. The swimming speeds of different species of sharks are examined below, and then they are compared to some relatable objects.
How Fast Can A Shark Swim?
The ocean’s apex predators, like those that hunt on land, have evolved to run at absurdly high speeds (20 to 30 mph) as soon as they spot their prey.
Only some shark species have the streamlined, slender bodies required to swim at these speeds, though; other shark species, those that live in ice-cold waters, and those with different body types and hunting habits all swim much more slowly.
Swimming Speed Of The Average Shark
The majority of shark species generally cruise at a speed of around 5 mph, which is comparable to that of Olympic swimmers. However, they also frequently swim at a speed of about 1.5 mph, particularly when they are resting or trying to conserve energy.
Even if you swim quickly, you risk becoming another shark attack statistic when they are hunting because they can accelerate to 12 mph.
Fortunately for people, sharks use all of their teeth to bite and consume marine prey, and the majority of shark attacks are initiated by people or arise from fear and confusion.
Why Do They Swim So Quickly?
In addition to their streamlined bodies, some shark species’ incredible speeds have also been documented by scientists. This is due to their endothermic system, which enables them to maintain metabolic heat levels higher than the surrounding environment and then expend this heat during high-speed hunts.
Sharks can also stiffen their back tails mid-swing, which helps them produce twice as many water jets as fish with symmetrical tails and smooth out their forward thrust and make swimming 100% more efficient than other fish.
The fastest sharks are also obligate ram ventilators, which means they can’t even stop to rest because they need to keep swimming to breathe and stay afloat. As a result, evolution has given them the fins they need to move through the water with little effort and resistance.
Does A Shark Swim Faster Than A Boat?
Is a shark faster than a boat? is a question that people have been asking for ages. We’ve all seen movies where a shark is either pursuing or attacking someone, leaving us to wonder: “Can a shark swim faster than a boat?” Whether a boat can swim more quickly than a shark will be discussed in this blog.
Although some sharks can swim extremely quickly, they can’t maintain it for very long. Boats are completely incapable of swimming but can maintain a combined speed of up to 36 km/h. Consequently, a shark cannot swim faster than a boat, to put it briefly. The reasons for that will be examined in this blog.
Does A Shark Swim Faster Than A Dolphin?
Dolphins are reputed to be among the most intelligent creatures on the planet, and this intelligence extends to their speed as well! Due to their sleek bodies, dolphins are frequently referred to as seahorses. They can swim up to 40 km/h and leap out of the water.
On the other hand, sharks are renowned hunters, having developed over hundreds of thousands of years into perfectly adapted killers; they heavily rely on smell and heat sensing to find prey, and they use swift movements to catch it!
Can A Shark Swim Backwards?
The biggest misunderstanding about sharks is whether or not they can swim backward, despite the fact that they are fascinating animals. While some say they are excellent at swimming backward others are still of opinion that it is impossible for them to swim backward.
Sharks cannot swim backward and will actually perish if they try. They cannot swim backward or come to a sudden stop. The only direction they can swim in is forward because their pectoral fins cannot bend upward like a fish can. If a shark needs to move backward, it falls backward using gravity rather than swimming.
Fastest Sharks In The World
- Shortfin mako—the cheetah of the seas is a robust, torpedo-like, streamlined, endothermic shark with powerful tail keels that help it reach regular bursts of speed of at least 46 mph, travel 36 miles per day, and leap 20 feet over the surface;
- Salmon shark—another mackerel shark with a streamlined tapered body for minimal drag that comes in a close second with burst speeds of around 40 mph, which is much more impressive as it inhabits the colder waters of the North Pacific;
- Great white shark—with a cruising speed of 25 mph and bursts of 35 mph, the great white is the largest endothermic mackerel shark on our list, which despite its massive body reaches these speeds thanks to its large, strong fins and powerful lunate tail;
- Blue shark—the great blue is a requiem shark and a fierce, fast, and agile predator with an elongated torpedo-shaped body that helps it reach cruising speeds of up to 24.5 mph and bursts of up to 35 mph, in spite of not having any endothermic capabilities;
- Bull shark—even though it’s bigger, heavier, and with a flatter snout than the blue shark, this aggressive requiem shark is just as fast thanks to its longer caudal fin that helps it reach burst speeds above 30 mph and a standard cruising speed of 25 mph;
- Tiger shark: The tiger shark is a large apex predator that uses its long fins and upper tail to look for prey at a typical 20 mph speed with occasional speed bursts of up to 30 mph. However, despite appearing to swim slowly because of its small body movements, the tiger shark is a large predator.
So, to sum up, sharks are capable of swimming quickly and catching up with, overwhelming, and killing their prey by suddenly accelerating and then exerting force. Knowing how quickly sharks can swim, you should know better than to try and outswim one, especially if it is one of the aforementioned species.