Galapagos Sharks

These beautiful hunters thrive in their thousands in Galapagos


There are at least 9 shark species that are endemic or regular visitors to the Galapagos. Here are a few of the most popular species that you can encounter on a Galapagos diving cruise, or even snorkeling or during a panga ride on a naturalist Galapagos cruise.

The Scalloped Hammerhead Shark is one of the most recognisable species in the ocean, and the Galapagos Marine Reserve is one of the best places in the world to see these remarkable creatures. Hammerhead sharks can be seen gathering together in large schools of up to several hundred here, one of the only places on Earth this happens. Scientists are still unsure of the reasons behind this schooling behaviour.

Like all members of the hammerhead family, the Scalloped Hammerhead has the famous "hammer" consisting of a central dent and an arched front edge. The eyes are found at the edges of the "hammer". Hammerheads are silver-gray in color, fading to white on their underside. Hammerheads have the largest brains of all shark species.

The Hammerheads are able to be seen all year round, but they gather in their greatest numbers in January. Speak to one of our Galapagos specialists for help with building a diving itinerary that maximises your chances of experiencing these iconic creatures.

Silky Sharks are, as the name implies, a very smooth-skinned species. They are curious, and will often be encountered closer to the surface. This isn't a shy species and divers shouldn't get too close! The Sliky shark hunts using hearing as well as sight. They also have a group hunting behaviour, where they will dive together into shoals of fish, each taking lightning-quick attacks and then coming back for more.

Tiger Sharks can also be encountered in Galapagos. They are named due to the tiger-like stripe markings they are born with. These tend to fade as the shark gets older, and is one way to be able to tell the age of an individual.  Tiger Sharks have earned the nickname of Trashcan Of The Sea - this is because they have a tendency to eat pretty much anything they come across, including garbage thrown overboard from ships or that gets into the sea from the shore. Tiger Sharks prefer to hunt at night, and they prey on smaller sharks, fish, dolphins, turtles, squid, and more. Tiger Sharks are considered dangerous, but your Galapatours dive masters and naturalist guides know the best way to get wonderful, safe encounters.

Other species that you can see during your Galapagos cruise include Blacktip Reef Sharks, Whitetip Reef Sharks and Dusky Sharks. Our fantastic naturalist guides will be able to tell you about all the species you encounter on your Galapagos cruise, so contact one of our travel experts today for help in choosing the perfect itinerary for your Galapagos shark encounters.


Photos of the Galapagos Sharks

Fast Facts about the Galapagos Sharks

  • Hammerhead sharks have electrical sensors on their bodies that they use to hunt their prey
  • Silky Sharks are so-called because their skin is incredibly smooth
  • Hammerheads don't believe in romantic courtship... The males bite the females until they submit!
  • Sharks can be found all around the Galapagos, all year round

Where can the Galapagos Sharks be seen?

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All cruises to visit the Galapagos Sharks