Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Whitetip Reef Shark

Judy and I encountered a whitetip reef shark while snorkeling off Egas Port, Santiago Island, in the Galapagos Islands, and it was quite exciting for me. I've seen sharks before, but not this close and not this big. It has a white tipped dorsal (back) and caudal (tail) fins which identified it right away. 
It is "small," usually does not exceed 5.2 feet (I would have guessed this one was 6 feet) and is usually found on or near the bottom, which was our experience. Unlike many sharks that must move in order to flush water through their gills to breathe, this share can stay still and pump water over its gills to the same effect. They usually hunt at night for octopus, bony fishes and crustaceans. 
They are usually not aggressive toward humans.
This range map from Wikipedia shows a relatively limited area around Central America that does not even appear to cover the Galapagos Island. 

1 comment:

  1. Definitely exciting to be snorkeling with sharks, and I didn't even think about aggression because it didn't acknowledge our presence and stayed near the sandy bottom.