Black Tip Reef Shark Koh Tao
Learn about the Black Tip Reef Shark Koh Tao
The Black Tip Reef Shark is one of the most beautiful yet timid sharks in our Oceans and often confused with the Black Tip Shark.
Where to find the Black Tip Reef Shark on Koh Tao
However, they are most commonly seen at Aow Leuk, Hin Wong Bay and Shark Bay as the shallow bays and rocky outcrops provide a nursery for them during their early stages of life.
How to Identify the Black Tip Reef Shark
The Black Tip Reef Shark is easy to identify due to the prominent black markings on all the fins and the caudal and dorsal fin is the easiest way to identify them.
They are very shy and timid sharks and generally will stay together in groups when they are young and will swim around in very shallow water.
Snorkel with Black Tip Reef Sharks
This is why it is much easier to see them on Koh Tao whilst snorkeling as the bubbles from a scuba diver can be heard from a distance.
Black Tip Reef Sharks are also considerably smaller than most other sharks we think of.
Their size can range from 45-140cm and it can take up to four years for a male to become fully mature and seven years for a female and they have an average life span of around 13 years.
Black Tip Reef Shark Characteristics & Behaviour
These particular sharks are known as viviparous, which means they give birth to live pups rather than eggs and on average a female can have up to 10 pups per year.
Black Tip Reef Sharks are thought to be a highly social species of shark and the pups will often stay together in early life and form a hierarchy between themselves and they feel safer in groups for protection against predators.
Protection from Predators
Black Tip Reef Sharks are very energetic hunters that prey on smaller marine life and fish like Groupers, Wrasse, Rabbit fish and Rays.
Hunting in groups has also been observed and they use communication to herd shoals of fish, which is known as co-operative hunting.
Interesting facts about the Black Tip Reef Shark
Female Black Tip Reef Shark can reproduce pups asexually if they cannot find a suitable male and scientists believe this has been detrimental to their numbers around the world.
They are believed to have the smallest home range of any shark species out there at 0.21 square metres.
Being one of the only shark species to fully breach out of the water, they are thought to be highly intellectual and have been observed breaching to have a look at their surroundings, which is known as spy-hopping.
Near Threatened Species
Black Tip Reef sharks are currently listed as Near Threatened and sadly are often the victims of bycatch.
Their population like many other shark species is rapidly declining due to the demand for their fins in shark fin soup and their liver for many sun screens, food products and beauty products.