Carcharhinus Limbatus, commonly known as the Blacktip Shark, is a common, intermediate shark that takes its name from the fins that are black-tipped. Most notably, blacktip sharks have a reputation for devouring schools of tiny fish by making whirling lunges out of the ocean. Yet, their temperament has again been regarded as “meek” when juxtaposed with other giant requiem sharks

In many areas of its distribution, this creature is prominent for both commercial and recreational fishing leading the IUCN to rate it as Vulnerable due to its limited frequency of reproduction and financial incentives.


The Blacktip Shark has a strong, conical shape, a short, pointing snout, and fairly modest eyeballs. They can typically reach lengths of 5.5 ft and weights of 55 lbs, typically the females of the species developing larger dimensions than their male counterparts. Its coloring is pale below and charcoal to brown atop, with a noticeable white stripe extending down the flanks. 

Blacktip Sharks typically reach lengths of 5.5 ft and weights of 55 lbs
Blacktip Sharks typically reach lengths of 5.5 ft and weights of 55 lbs

Typically, the lower portion of the caudal fin, second dorsal fin, and pectoral fins almost always have black tips. Its anterior fin and pelvic fins, which occur sporadically, can both have black tips. The most notable example is that during blooms, when a particular kind of phytoplankton is most common, Blacktip sharks can momentarily change practically all of their pigmentation.


Blacktip Sharks are occasionally seen swimming above the surface. Also, witnesses have reported that these sharks pursue fishing vessels and eat bycatch that has been dumped. They soar well above water, spin around a few times, and then land on their backsides. They occasionally use this theatrical exhibition as part of a covert feeding technique and attack groups of bony fishes that are congregated close to the ocean’s surface. 

From underneath, the sharks launch furiously toward the prey. But, because these sharks are voracious hunters, there is a long list of food that they will eat. In some cases, during dawn or dusk, where prey is plenty, they will congregate and attack as a group.


The Blacktip Shark is found in tropical and subtropical environments throughout the planet. Despite their ability to descend as low as 200 ft, Blacktip Sharks are often located in waters that are less than 100 ft deep, especially close to the major coastlines. Murky beaches, island lagoons, and coral reefs are preferred sites. Most notably they can indeed tolerate low salinity and can reach rivers and mangrove forests. Therefore, despite what most popular beliefs might presume about sharks, Blacktip sharks don’t really live in oceans.

Blacktip Sharks are typically found in waters that are less than 100 ft deep, close to the major coastlines
Blacktip Sharks are typically found in waters that are less than 100 ft deep, close to the major coastlines


Throughout the breeding season in March – June, Blacktip Shark groups congregate. Up into breeding season, blacktip sharks travel in gender-specific groups, with males traveling in packs and females traveling solo.

As Blacktip Sharks are viviparous—meaning that the juvenile grows within the mother—the females give birth to live young instead of laying eggs. Females can begin breeding at the age of 4 or 5 and keep having offspring for the rest of their lives. There is an 11–12 month gestation period. As juveniles, young Blacktip Sharks are able to evade larger sharks by living in coastal nurseries.


Blacktip Sharks don’t necessarily have a direct predator, however, they are susceptible to being attacked by larger sharks in the case of juveniles. Yet, because of its propensity for near-shore environments, Blacktip sharks are especially vulnerable to fishing activities, which involve a great deal mostly in the southeast of the United States, Mexico, and India.

Blacktip sharks are especially vulnerable to fishing activities, mostly in the southeast of the United States, Mexico, and India
Blacktip sharks are especially vulnerable to fishing activities, mostly in the southeast of the United States, Mexico, and India

The fishing industry also destroys crucial habitats, such as nursery sites, which leaves the juveniles that can’t defend themselves in a vulnerable position. The IUCN has classed the blacktip as near threatened throughout the globe, in significant part due to the fact that it is frequently hunted for both its flesh as well as its fin, which are employed to prepare soup made from shark fins.

Facts about the Blacktip Shark

  1. When leaping out of the water, Blacktip Shark spins 3 times.
  2. The biggest Blacktip Shark officially reported was a female measuring 6.8 ft.
  3. Blacktip Sharks can live up to 15.5 years old, according to observational data.
  4. Blacktip Sharks can make their way into low-salinity waters like rivers.
  5. The exceptional smell acuity of Blacktip Sharks can detect fish in 10 billion parts of water.


Are Blacktip Sharks aggressive?

Blacktip sharks are a potentially violent type of shark. After pursuing prey or being in the vicinity of food, they are more prone to turn hostile. Because of their extreme aggression against fishermen and anglers, some pursue them in search of prize specimens. The species is renowned for its inquisitive nature despite this.

Has a Blacktip Shark ever attacked a person?

Shark bites within the US account for a sizable portion of all bites from Blacktips. Since these sharks favor shallow waters when migrating, they frequently come into contact with people by accident. The interest of the shark may be aroused if the person in the water is waddling loudly, prompting them to approach and examine. This type of shark has attacked without warning 42 times.

Can you swim with a Blacktip Shark?

While in some instances, there have been scuba divers and snorkelers that have swum with Blacktip Sharks and have had the fortune to experience their more inquisitive nature of them, it’s not recommended. There are too many variables that can turn such creatures vicious, and they can’t be predicted; therefore, it’s highly advised against swimming with them.

Do Blacktip Sharks lose their teeth?

Sharks also possess numerous sets of jagged teeth, which, with just a light touch, may rip the skin. Sharks shed and renew roughly 35,000 teeth during the course of their lifespan, and their teeth are equally as sturdy as they appear. For instance,  the maximum bite force of Blacktips is 244 PSI, while a human has a bite force of 174 PSI, while the difference is fairly in the same ballpark; one is more lethal than the other.

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