Conservation Status: Near Threatened
Scientific Name: Triaenodon Obesus
The Whitetip Reef Shark is the most common shark species found at the Galapagos Islands. If you ever wanted to snorkel with sharks, then these small, calm and often inquisitive creatures make for the perfect opportunity. They are also frequently spotted from land, in shallow waters, for those who prefer not to share the same water as a shark.
Whitetip Reef Sharks are easily recognised by the tell-tale white tip on their first dorsal and upper caudal fins. They are slim bodied with dark coloring on their upper body, and lighter colours on the underside – this acts as perfect camouflage, so when the shark is viewed from above it blends in with the dark ocean depths, and when viewed from below it merges with the light of the sun and sky above. They also have large eyes, enabling them to see clearly in murky waters. Like hammerhead sharks, White-tipped Reef Sharks are sensitive to vibrations, sensing struggling fish in nearby waters and honing in on their location to hunt.
Where to Find Them: Right across the Galapagos archipelago.
When to See Them: All year Round.
There is a good chance to come across a Whitetip Reef Shark on any Galapagos Vacation. They typically hang-out in shallow waters, resting motionless on the bottom in groups for long periods of time during the day. Two great spots to get up close to these sharks are: snorkelling at Los Tuneles, or on a land trip to Tintoreras – both of these sites are found on Isabela Island, and easily included into a Galapagos Land Tour itinerary.
Have no fear when snorkelling with Whitetip Reef Sharks – they are curious, gentle creatures, and often approach swimmers quite close up – it is extremely unusual that they will ever show signs of aggression to humans. For many, such an encounter makes a remarkable Galapagos trip highlight, especially for those with an underwater camera.
A single female Whitetip will often mate with as many as 5 males. Reproduction is viviparous, that is, the embryo develops inside the mother who after 10-12 months gestation period gives birth to between 1 to 5 shark pups. Each pup is born at around half a metre in length, large enough to already hunt independently and hide from other predator shark species until they grow larger.
During the day White-tipped Reef Sharks are lazy and docile, but at night they transform into fierce and efficient hunters. They feed mostly on crustaceans, mollusks, small fish, and octopus, hunting among coral reefs where potential prey are plentiful.
Contact us for a FREE GALAPAGOS TOUR QUOTE with no obligations, or to organise your own Galapagos Vacation to swim with Whitetip Reef Sharks.