19 Strangest Shark Species In the World’s Oceans

Dive into the ocean’s deep and mysterious world, where sharks rule the waters. These incredible creatures come in all shapes and sizes, each with its own cool features and job in the ocean.

From deep-sea giants to speedy hunters, sharks show us just how wild and diverse life under the sea can be.

Get ready to meet some of the most awesome and unique sharks out there. We’re talking about sharks that look like they’re from another planet, with amazing skills and some traits you’ve got to see to believe.

1. Goblin Shark

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Image Credit: 3dsam79/Shutterstock.

With its prehistoric lineage, the Goblin Shark appears as if it swam straight out of a dinosaur era, thanks to its protruding snout and jaw that snaps forward to catch prey.

Its skin’s pink hue, resulting from visible blood vessels under semi-transparent skin, contributes to its eerie appearance.

Primarily a deep-sea species, the Goblin Shark’s habitat extends across continental shelves and slopes worldwide, often at depths greater than 4365 feet (1300 meters ¹), making encounters with this living fossil rare.

2. Hammerhead Shark

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Image Credit: Tomas Kotouc/Shutterstock.

Hammerhead Sharks are distinguished by their unique hammer-shaped heads, called cephalofoils, which house advanced sensory organs that enhance their ability to detect prey.

This adaptation gives them a 360-degree view, allowing for better maneuverability and perception.

Among the different species, the Great Hammerhead is the largest, potentially growing up to 20 feet (6 meters) in length. These sharks are often found in warm waters around coastlines and islands.

3. Frilled Shark

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Image Credit: 3dsam79/Shutterstock.

The Frilled Shark is a throwback to the dinosaurs, with a dark, eel-like body and a mouth bristling with 25 rows of backward-facing, trident-shaped teeth, totaling up to 300. This deep-sea hunter in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans captures prey by bending its body and lunging forward like a snake.

The frilled shark’s gestation period is one of the longest of any vertebrate, lasting up to three and a half years ².

4. Saw Shark

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Image Credit: Andrea Izzotti/Shutterstock.

Equipped with a long, narrow, tooth-studded snout, the Saw Shark uses its saw-like nose to slash at schools of fish, incapacitating or killing them before eating.

Beyond its unique hunting tool, this shark’s snout is also sensitive to electric fields, helping it detect prey on the sandy ocean floor.

Predominantly found in the waters off Australia, Japan, and South Africa, these sharks prefer the ocean’s depths, typically between 130 and 3,000 feet (40 to 900 meters).

5. Basking Shark

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Image Credit: Martin Prochazkacz/Shutterstock.

The Basking Shark, the ocean’s gentle giant, filters plankton through its wide-open mouth as it swims. Despite its size, reaching up to 33 feet (10 meters) long, this shark poses no threat to humans. Its gill slits wrap almost entirely around its head, allowing for efficient feeding.

Basking Sharks are known for their seasonal migrations in search of plankton-rich waters, often spotted near the surface in temperate seas.

Areas such as the western coast of Scotland, the Isle of Man, and parts of northeastern U.S. and Canada ³.

6. Greenland Shark

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Image Credit: Dotted Yeti/Shutterstock.

The Greenland Shark, a denizen of the cold northern Atlantic and Arctic waters, is remarkable for its extreme longevity, with some individuals estimated to be over 400 years old (average range is 250-500 years ⁴).

These sharks are slow-moving, with a diet that includes fish, seals, and even whale carcasses.

The flesh of the Greenland Shark contains high levels of toxins, which can be neutralized through a traditional fermentation process, making it an exotic delicacy in Icelandic cuisine.

7. Wobbegong Shark

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Image Credit: Ethan Daniels/Shutterstock.

Wobbegongs, or carpet sharks, feature a flat body and a patterned appearance that allows them to blend perfectly with the ocean floor.

Their name, meaning “shaggy beard” in an Australian Aboriginal language, refers to the fringed barbels around their mouth, which assist in camouflage and sensing prey. Wobbegongs are ambush predators, lying in wait for unsuspecting fish and invertebrates to pass by before striking.

8. Whale Shark

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Image Credit: Krzysztof Odziomek/Shutterstock.

Despite its immense size, the Whale Shark, reaching up to 62 feet (19 meters) in length, feeds primarily on plankton, which it filters through its vast mouth.

These gentle behemoths are known for their docile nature and are a popular attraction for divers and snorkelers in regions where they aggregate to feed.

The distinctive pattern of white spots and stripes on their dark skin is unique to each individual, similar to human fingerprints.

9. Megamouth Shark

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Image Credit: Pasindhu sandeepa/Shutterstock

One of the rarest and least understood shark species, the Megamouth Shark, has a massive head and mouth, which it uses to filter feed plankton and jellyfish.

Since its discovery in 1976 (by a U.S. Navy ship in the waters of O’ahu ⁵), only a handful of specimens have been observed, making each sighting a significant event for marine biologists.

This deep-water species is believed to migrate vertically daily, staying in deep waters during the day and moving closer to the surface at night to feed.

10. Thresher Shark

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Image Credit: Damir Zurub/Shutterstock

Thresher Sharks are notable for their long, scythe-like tails, which can be as long as the rest of their body. They use these unique tails to slap and stun prey, making them easier to catch. Threshers are highly migratory and found in both coastal and open oceans.

Their deep dives and dramatic breaches are a spectacle, showcasing their athletic prowess.

11. Leopard Shark

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Image Credit: Barbara Ash/Shutterstock.

The Leopard Shark, with its striking leopard-like spots and bands, is a coastal species found in the Pacific Ocean, from Oregon to the Gulf of California. These bottom dwellers prefer sandy or muddy flats and rocky areas, where they feed on crustaceans, worms, and small fish.

Despite their fierce name, Leopard Sharks are small, typically around 4 to 5 feet (1.2 to 1.5 meters) in length, and pose no threat to humans.

12. Horn Shark

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Image Credit: Enessa Varnaeva/Shutterstock.

Named for the distinctive spikes on their dorsal fins, Horn Sharks are slow-moving and prefer to stay within the confines of their rocky habitat, using strong jaws to crush shellfish.

Their coloration, a combination of brown, yellow, and green hues, provides excellent camouflage among the kelp and rocks of the Pacific Ocean’s coastal waters.

13. Port Jackson Shark

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The Port Jackson Shark is a nocturnal species found off southern Australia’s coast with a blunt head and distinctive banded markings. These sharks are known for their unusual egg cases, which are spiral-shaped and often found anchored in rocky crevices.

Port Jackson Sharks feed primarily on sea urchins, mollusks, and crustaceans, using their pavement-like teeth to crush hard shells.

14. Nurse Shark

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Image Credit: Carlos Grillo/Shutterstock.

Nurse Sharks are notable for their sedentary lifestyle, often lying motionless on the ocean floor during the day. They have strong, muscular bodies and can reach lengths of up to 14 feet (4.3 meters).

Despite their powerful jaws and thousands of tiny, serrated teeth, Nurse Sharks are generally harmless to humans unless provoked. They feed on various prey, including fish, squid, and crustaceans.

15. Angel Shark

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Image Credit: LuisMiguelEstevez/Shutterstock.

Angel Sharks have a flattened body and broad pectoral fins, giving them a ray-like appearance. They are ambush predators, lying buried in sediment on the ocean floor to surprise prey, which includes fish, crustaceans, and mollusks.

Once common across the northeastern Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea, their populations have drastically declined, leading to several species being listed as critically endangered ⁶.

16. Bull Shark

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Bull Sharks are known for their robust body, aggressive nature, and unique ability to thrive in fresh and saltwater environments. They are one of the few shark species that can travel far up rivers, even living in freshwater lakes and rivers for extended periods.

Their adaptability, combined with a diet that includes fish, dolphins, and even other sharks, makes them one of the most versatile predators in the aquatic world.

17. Shortfin Mako Shark

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Renowned for its speed, the Shortfin Mako Shark can reach bursts of up to 46 miles per hour ⁷, making it the ocean’s fastest shark. This speed, combined with its ability to leap out of the water, makes the Mako a formidable predator and highly sought after by sports fishermen.

Makos are pelagic, found in temperate and tropical waters worldwide, and feed on a diet of fish and cephalopods.

18. Spiny Dogfish

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The Spiny Dogfish, easily recognized by the spines in front of each dorsal fin, is a small but widespread species. Known for their social behavior, dogfish often travel in large schools.

They have a slow growth rate and long gestation period, leading to vulnerabilities from overfishing. These sharks are found in temperate waters worldwide and feed on various small fish and invertebrates.

19. Tiger Shark

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Tiger Sharks, named for the dark stripes on their juvenile bodies, are known as the oceans’ garbage cans due to their eclectic diet, including anything from sea turtles and seals to inedible objects (oddly enough, they will eat items such as plastic, rubber tires, metal, and more ⁸).

They are solitary, nocturnal hunters and are considered one of the top predators in tropical and subtropical waters. Despite their formidable size, reaching up to 16 feet (4.9 meters) in length, tiger sharks face threats from finning and bycatch.

They Call the Ocean Home

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Image Credit: Martin Prochazkacz/Shutterstock.

The diversity of shark species showcases the incredible range of adaptations these ancient creatures have developed to thrive in the world’s oceans.

From the deep-sea enigmas to the coastal dwellers, each species plays a crucial role in its ecosystem, contributing to the balance of marine life.


  1. https://oceana.org/marine-life/goblin-shark/
  2. https://www.marinebio.org/species/frilled-sharks/chlamydoselachus-anguineus/
  3. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/fish/facts/basking-sharks
  4. https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/greenland-shark.html
  5. https://dlnr.hawaii.gov/sharks/hawaii-sharks/discovering-megamouth/
  6. https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/species/common-angelshark
  7. https://ocean.si.edu/ocean-life/sharks-rays/shortfin-mako-shark
  8. https://angari.org/tiger-shark-deep-dive/
Martha A. Lavallie
Martha A. Lavallie
Author & Editor | + posts

Martha is a journalist with close to a decade of experience in uncovering and reporting on the most compelling stories of our time. Passionate about staying ahead of the curve, she specializes in shedding light on trending topics and captivating global narratives. Her insightful articles have garnered acclaim, making her a trusted voice in today's dynamic media landscape.