Nat Geo WILD: Know Your Sharks—The Blacktip Shark

Blacktips are known for their stout bodies and moderately long, pointed snouts. A migratory species, these sharks are widespread in tropical, subtropical, and warm, temperate waters around the world. They’re bottom-dwellers and will on occasion gather in small groups with other blacktips.

The largest blacktip caught on record was just over eight feet in length. Despite their size, blacktips are rarely aggressive toward humans. As of 2008, the International Shark Attack File (ISAF) lists 28 unprovoked attacks (one fatal) and 13 provoked attacks by this species on humans around the world. Blacktip sharks are responsible annually for roughly 16% of the shark attacks around Florida, often striking surfers. Most attacks by this species result in only minor wounds.

The blacktip is listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as near threatened, largely because it is often targeted for its meat and its fins, which are used to make shark fin soup. The blacktip’s hide has also been used for leather.

Blacktips are one of several shark species known to have bitten humans that will make an appearance during Friday’s two-hour event Shark Attack Experiment: Live.

For more facts and photos on the blacktip shark, visit our Blacktip Shark Profile and the Know Your Sharks Photo Gallery.


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Jodi Kendall is a writer living in New York City with her husband and two dogs. She's a regular contributor for several National Geographic Channel websites and curator for You can follow her travel, writing, and outdoor adventures on Twitter @Jodi_Kendall.