Do sharks hunt at night? FExplained

Have you ever thought about shark hunting if yes, then you must have a question in your mind do sharks hunt at night?

Well, the answer is yes. Most sharks hunt at night but there are a lot of questions like do sharks rest or if they are active all the time.

This article will clear all these curious questions and confusions in your mind. Let’s get straight into it.

Do sharks hunt at night?

Yes, hunting at night depends on the nature of sharks. Some Sharks are nocturnal in nature. Hammerhead sharks and tiger sharks are more active during this time. while some sharks like bull sharks and great white sharks have excellent night vision and hunt mostly at night.

Some sharks are crepuscular, which means they are usually active at twilight. This is because most of the shark’s prey have less ability to see, wander, and swim in the dark.

do sharks hunt at night

Some scientific research showed that some sharks rarely sleep because they need to swim constantly in the ocean. Spiracles in the nurse shark allow the water across their gills and help nurse sharks get stationary rest.

Hunting at night is a good strategy for sharks to avoid competition on particular prey. Their complex nature has many special abilities which they easily have for survival.

Sharks smell a very tiny scent of their prey from a large distance. Taking advantage of this special ability sharks find their prey and feed easily without any complex research process.

Great white sharks and bull sharks are known for their surprise, ambush attract. They wait for their prey quietly, waiting for the right time. When the prey comes closer they burst out of water and attack with their strong powerful jaws.

On the other hand, Tiger sharks are known for their opportunistic and scavenging behavior. They can attack in every direction.

Why do sharks hunt at night?

There are many reasons why sharks hunt at night. Some of their prey is more active during the dark like mackerel and tuna fish feed at night. Sharks are adapted to take advantage of their time.

Sharks have tapetum lucidum which is a reflective layer in their eyes. It gives sharks a significant advantage to see and spot their prey better at night.

Most of the time the prey is not nocturnal and cannot detect their predators at not which is another benefit for sharks to hunt their prey at night

sharks can detect the electrical pulses that are emitted from the gills of many of their prey, which helps them locate food in the dark.

Specialized Sleeping Habits:

Sharks are fascinating creatures they do not have a specific sleeping routine like humans. Sharks have some unique sleeping habits that help them survive better. Here are some of the sharks that have different sleeping specialties.

Unihemispheric slow wave sleep (USWS):

This is a type of sleep found in some species in which one hemisphere of the brain is active while sleeping.  This allows sharks to take a rest while swimming.

USWS is found in a variety of sharks including the Great white sharks, Nurse sharks, and lemon sharks.

Yoyo swimming:

This type of swimming is a great white shark, blue shark, and short-fin mako shark. These sharks swim freely on the surface to breathe while diving deep into the ocean to rest and sleep. They conserve energy while swimming using one-half of the brain.

Some sharks sleep in canvases while others sleep in groups for protection purposes and conservation of energy.

Can sharks see at night?

Yes, sharks can see at night. They have a lot of adaptations to survive at night. One of the special adaptations is tapetum lucidum which is a reflective layer that lies behind the retina of the eye. This allows sharks to see more light than they see without it.

Sharks have larger pupils than normal which allows them to let in more light. They have a large number of rod cells in the retina of the eye which are responsible for color vision. Great white sharks are well adapted to see in low light which is why they usually hunt at night.

How does a shark find prey at night?

Here are a few of the strategies sharks use to hunt at night.


Great white and bull sharks are known for their smelling ability. They can smell blood from a large distance, take advantage of this, and locate their prey easily.


Whale sharks have this special ability of electroreception. they have a special organ in their body called the ampullae of Lorenzini. This organ allows whale sharks to detect weak electric signals even if the prey (plankton, looms) is hidden is a dark place.


Great white sharks have a special reflective layer (tapetum lucidum) behind the retina. That allows sharks to see in low light.

Hammerhead sharks are known for their big hammerhead, which allows them to have a wide field of vision.


Is it dangerous to swim in the ocean at night?

Yes, it can be dangerous to swim in the ocean at night. Most of the sharks can see in low light. Sharks like bull sharks and great whites are mostly active at night to hunt the prey easily. So it is recommended not to swim in the ocean at dawn and dusk time.

Here are a few things you should take care of, to reduce the risk. Do not swim alone, avoid areas that are not properly visible, and be aware of your surroundings.

When and where do sharks sleep?

Different sharks sleep in different areas at different times. Nurse sharks sleep in groups on the ocean floor, and white-tip reef sharks sleep in caves. Great white sharks do yoyo swimming, which means they come to the surface to breathe and dive deep into the ocean to rest.

Do sharks come closer to shore at night? How

Yes, sharks can come close to shore at night. Some sharks are crepuscular; they are mostly active at twilight. So at the time of dawn and dusk, sharks do come to shallow water in search of their prey.

Final thoughts

After reading the detailed article it is clear that sharks do hunt at night. Sharks are apex predators. They have a lot of natural adaptation abilities and strategies to hunt in the dark.

Sharks like great white sharks are adapted to low light and have a great sense of smell. So to avoid competition, they usually search for prey at night. That is why it is recommended to be aware of the risks while swimming in the ocean at night.

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