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Different Types of Shark Habitats

Sharks can be found in oceans all over the world! Many species of sharks migrate long distances for food and to find other sharks of the same species. Shark migration isn't well studied, so we don't know a lot about how far some sharks travel, but one blue shark was recorded to swim 2,700 miles (4,344 kilometers) in four months—can you picture how far that is?!

There are many different habitats that sharks use to call home. Let's learn about some of them and the sharks you'll find in each habitat.

The Different Kinds of Shark Habitats

  • Shallow coastal water and reefs

  • Deep water and the ocean floor

  • The open ocean and polar seas

  • Freshwater sharks

Shallow Coastal Water and Reefs

Shallow waters and reefs are full of food for all kinds of sharks. Coral reefs allow many different species of animals to hide and live, meaning there's plenty of food around for sharks of all sizes. Not only do deep-sea sharks come to visit coral reefs, but there is an entire group of sharks called “reef sharks” who live in and around coral reefs.

Deep Water and the Ocean Floor

Bigeye houndsharks, which get their name from their very large eyes compared to their thin heads, have been found living as far as 7,200 feet (2,195 meters) underwater at the bottom of the Red Sea. That means these sharks live over a mile (about 2 kilometers) under the water!

Lantern sharks can also be found in deep water and get their name thanks to their bioluminescence (bio-loom-in-ess-ants), which means they produce their own light. Pretty cool right?

Sharks that Live in the Open Ocean and Polar Seas

While it can be hard for bigger animals to find prey in the open ocean, there is plenty of plankton around for whale sharks and basking sharks to feed on.

Sharks that don't eat plankton, like blue sharks, sometimes track migrating fish across the ocean and can travel thousands of miles or kilometers a year, just to find something to eat. Can you imagine traveling across the ocean just to find lunch? This is how far some sharks travel for their food!

Sleeper sharks may not live in the open ocean, but they do make their home in a cold, cold area. These sharks live in the Arctic all year round!

Sharks that Live in Freshwater

While most sharks live in salt water, some sharks can live in freshwater. Bull sharks have been found in the Mississippi River as far inland as Illinois, which is a journey of over 1,000 miles {1,609 kilometers) from the ocean—that’s quite a long swim!

Bull sharks have also been found in other freshwater rivers, like the Zambezi River in Africa and the Tigris River in Iraq.

Sharks live all over the world and in all kinds of climates. What is your favorite kind of shark?


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