3 Shark Species Found in Palau Scuba Divers Will Encounter!

There are many shark species found in Palau. In this article we discuss 3 of them. All sharks of Palau are protected by a huge shark sanctuary which when it was founded the first in the world.
Palau is a beautiful country that attracts countless individuals each year who want to partake in its natural scenery, friendly natives and unparalleled relaxation.

Situated several hundred miles off the coasts of Australia and the Philippines, Palau is a peaceful oasis in an otherwise turbulent ocean. The biodiversity in the region leaves little room for other ocean paradises to compete, thanks in large part to its geological/volcanic activity and one of the largest sets of barrier reefs in the entire world.

One of the best examples of this diversity is the number of different types of sharks in the area, all of which can make the experiences of scuba diving and snorkeling all that much more adventurous.

grey reefshark palau

Whether you have already arrived on the island nation or are planning a trip in the near future, you probably want to learn more about these majestic creatures. We’ll discuss three common types of sharks in Palau you can expect to encounter when out on the open water around the more than two hundred islands in the country.

Shark species found in Palau: Grey Reef Sharks

As the name suggests, grey reef sharks are one of many types of sharks that live in and around coral reefs. Since Palau’s surrounding waters are saturated with coral reefs, the grey reef shark is the most common type of shark you may encounter while scuba diving in Palau. The grey reef sharks are very agile and can swim extremely fast, making them a dangerous predator for smaller fish and even other sharks.

The grey reef shark is not a large shark by traditional standards; the majority of them measure less than six feet (two meters) in length and the heaviest one ever documented weighed a bit over 70 pounds (33 kilograms).

In most circumstances, these sharks stay in waters of less than 200 feet (60 meters) deep. Despite this, it has been documented that some grey reef sharks will dive up to five times deeper than that for brief periods of time when food is scarce.

Many of these sharks in and around Palau become much darker than the ones that can be found in other parts of the world, as they tan due to the sunlight. The grey reef shark is prey for sharks such as the silvertip shark, but around Palau, they generally are classified as predators.

leopard shark

 Shark species found in Palau: The leopard shark

The leopard shark is the smallest and least intimidating of the three sharks, measuring around one and a half meters long and weighing less than 15 kilograms on average. Even the most casual of snorkelers and scuba divers in Palau will encounter these rather cute sharks, as they almost always confine themselves to depths less than one a half meters deep.

Palau is unique in being one of the only locations in the western Pacific where the leopard shark can be found; in almost every other case, it is confined to the western coast of the United States and Mexico.

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Shark species found in Palau: Whitetip Reef Sharks

Another smaller type of shark that is common in Palau’s waters, the whitetip reef shark measures less than two meters in length and almost never ventures into waters deeper than 50 meters. These sharks are very curious of humans when they first enter the water and may get very close, but they will not attempt to engage or attack you. The whitetip reef shark has a very low reproduction rate; this, combined with their limited habitats mean that it is slowly becoming more endangered.

Read more about the Palau shark sanctuary

With 40-50 teeth in each row and multiple rows in its mouth, this shark is quite adept at devouring its prey. When it is hungry and looking for sustenance, it is common to find the whitetip reef shark in groups to make the process more efficient. Since it weighs less than 40 pounds, a group is often more effective at taking down larger forms of prey.