Sharks in Belize

Posted on Monday, August 21st, 2017

The warm waters of the Caribbean Sea make Belize an ideal home for sharks. More than 350 different species of sharks can be found along the barrier reef, coral atolls, and mangrove estuaries, including the elusive hammerhead shark, black tip shark, bull shark, nurse shark, reef shark, lemon shark, nurse shark, and the enormous whale shark, the largest fish in the world’s oceans.

Southern Belize and the area of the reef near Placencia is an ideal place to see sharks. Underwater formations such as estuaries, the roots of mangrove forests, upwelling currents, fore reefs, and deep walls are all excellent places to have a safe and exciting encounter with sharks.

The hammerhead is rarely found in the oceans, but it’s not uncommon to see one when diving in Belize. Hammerhead sharks are very peculiar about the areas of the ocean that attract them, but the edge of the continental shelf of the Atlantic Ocean where it meets near Placencia attracts large schools of hammerheads. Named for their unique T-shaped head, hammerheads are peerless hunters, twisting their bodies to turn and chase prey. Hammerheads cruise the seafloor in search of crabs, lobster, octopus, and fish, using special sensors on its head to detect faint electrical signals.

Another interesting shark that inhabits the shallower areas of the reef near Placencia are lemon sharks. Named for their yellow skin that serves as excellent camouflage, lemon sharks like to park themselves on the sea floor while waiting for prey to cross their path.

But perhaps the most popular shark in Belize is the nurse shark. Once hunted nearly to extinction, nurse sharks are now a protected species in Belize. Generally docile towards humans, nurse sharks have a distinct mouth with two barbels on their upper lip.

Other kinds of sharks you may encounter in Belize include black tip sharks which often leap out of the water in pursuit of fish and reef sharks that gain their name from their penchant for hugging the shallow waters of the reef. Tiger sharks can be found in Belize, but these are far rarer.

Perhaps the most famous shark to visit the waters of Belize are whale sharks. Every spring, vast schools of migrating whale sharks visit the outer part of the reef, consuming enormous quantities of fish spawn and plankton.

Travelers interested in diving with sharks, including nurse sharks and whale sharks, can book their Belize snorkeling and diving vacation with Chabil Mar.

For more information about sharks in Belize, feel free to chat with our Concierge at: concierge@chabilmarvillas.com or contact our Reservations Manager at: reservations@chabilmarvillas.com. Or perhaps you would like to call toll free from the US or Canada: 1-866-417-2377.

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