Sharks found off the North and South Carolina Coast

Facts about Sharks with pictures

Sharks that are more likely to attack are: the Great White, Hammerhead, Tiger, bull, Mako, Dusky, Blue, and Blacktip sharks.

Bull Shark picture

Bull Sharks are the most aggressive and therefore the most dangerous of sharks. The Bull shark enter rivers, sounds and inlets. They frequent the waters of the Carolina coast from May to October. They pup (reproduce) in North Carolina waters in May or June.

Dusky Shark (Carcharhinus Obscurus) picture

Dusky sharks are common south of Cape Hatteras all year round. They enter rivers and estuaries.

Hammerhead Shark picture

Hammerhead sharks are seasonal and appear in the Carolina waters from May to October. There are three varieties: Smooth and Scalloped Hammerhead and the Great Hammerhead shark.

Great White Shark picture

Great White sharks are the 2nd largest shark next to the Whale Shark. They have been recorded to reach over 6.4 meters long. They swim off the Carolina coast all year round. Great White Sharks habitat cold waters and frequent the edge of the Continental Shelf.

picture of A Diver Swims with a 35-Foot-Long Whale shark

The Whale shark is the biggest shark ever. It is estimated to grow to 12.2 meters long and up. It does not attack humans, it eats plankton.

picture of a Shortfin Mako Shark

Mako sharks are of two variety the short fin and Longfin. They are common in the Gulf Stream all year round. The Shortfin Mako shark comes close to shore in July and September. The Longfin Mako shark frequents the waters around Cape Hatteras from February through the summer months.

blacktip shark swimming in a reef

Sand Sharks include the Blacktip shark and occur in waters less than 30 ft deep. These sharks have been known to enter rivers and sounds. They swim off the Carolina Coast all year round.

Tiger Shark picture

Tiger Shark attacks on humans have occurred. Tiger sharks are large. They swim in shallow coastal waters and deep ocean waters off the Carolina coast. They have been known to enter the inlets, sounds and large rivers of South Carolina. Tiger sharks use Cape Hatteras and Charleston harbor as nursery areas. They also hang around ship wrecks off the coast of Cape Hatteras


Blue Sharks occur year round off the Carolina Coast.

There are 56 known species of Sharks that inhabit the Carolina coastal waters.

  1. Atlantic angel shark
  2. Atlantic sharpnose shark
  3. Arrowhead dogfish
  4. Basking shark
  5. Bigeye thresher
  6. Bignose shark
  7. Blacknose shark
  8. Blotched cat shark
  9. Blunt nose six gill shark
  10. Bull shark
  11. Black dogfish
  12. Blacktip shark
  13. Blue shark
  14. Bonnethead shark
  15. Bramble shark
  16. Broadband lantern shark
  17. Caribbean lantern shark
  18. Caribbean reef shark
  19. Chain cat shark
  20. Cuban dogfish
  21. Deepwater cat shark
  22. Dusky shark
  23. Dusky smooth hound
  24. Finetooth shark
  25. Florida smooth hound
  26. Galapagos shark
  27. Great hammerhead
  28. Greenland shark
  29. Great white shark
  30. Gulper shark
  31. Iceland cat shark
  32. Kitefin shark
  33. Lemon shark
  34. Lined lantern shark
  35. Longfin mako
  36. Night shark
  37. Nurse shark
  38. Oceanic whitetip shark
  39. Piked (spiny) dogfish
  40. Porbeagle
  41. Roughskin spurdog
  42. Roughtail cat shark
  43. Sand tiger shark
  44. Sandbar shark
  45. Scalloped hammerhead
  46. Sharp nose seven gill shark
  47. Shortfin Mako
  48. Shortspine spurdog
  49. Silky shark
  50. Smalltooth sand tiger
  51. Smooth hammerhead
  52. Spinner shark
  53. Thresher shark
  54. Tiger shark
  55. Whale shark
  56. White saddled cat shark

More Shark pictures, posters and prints

Reference: link opens in new window

Schwartz, Frank J. Sharks, Skates, and Rays of the Carolinas, University of North Carolina Press (June 9, 2003)

The NC Aquariums have tanks with sharks. They are located in 3 areas on the Coast: Kure Beach (Fort Fisher), Atlantic Beach (Pine Knoll Shores) and Manteo (Roanoke Island).

see Sharks attacks to find out more.