What Do Sharks Eat

Discover the fascinating world of shark diets, from fish to seals and even garbage. Explore the diverse feeding behaviors of these apex predators and their importance in marine ecosystems.

The Diet of Sharks

Sharks are apex predators of the ocean, known for their sharp teeth and powerful jaws. But what exactly do these formidable creatures eat? Let’s explore the diverse diet of sharks and the role they play in marine ecosystems.

Types of Sharks

  • Carnivorous Sharks: Majority of sharks are carnivores, feeding on fish, seals, squids, and other marine mammals.
  • Filter-Feeding Sharks: Some sharks like the whale shark are filter feeders, consuming plankton and small fish by filtering them through their gills.
  • Scavengers: Certain species like the tiger shark are known to scavenge on dead animals and garbage in the ocean.

Prey of Sharks

Sharks have a varied diet depending on their species and habitat. Some common prey items for sharks include:

  • Fish: Sharks feed on a wide variety of fish including herring, mackerel, and salmon.
  • Seals and Sea Lions: Larger species like the great white shark prey on seals and sea lions near coastal areas.
  • Squid: Deep-sea sharks like the goblin shark feed on squid and other cephalopods.

Case Studies

One interesting case study is the feeding behavior of the tiger shark. These sharks are known to consume a wide range of prey items, from sea turtles to tires and license plates. This scavenging behavior helps them survive in diverse environments.


According to research, sharks consume around 210-390 million tons of prey annually. This highlights the critical role they play in maintaining the balance of the marine food chain.

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