Fun Blacktip Shark Facts For Kids

Joan Agie
Oct 20, 2022 By Joan Agie
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Chandan Shukla
Blacktip sharks belong to the family carcharhinidae. This is one of the must-know blacktip shark facts.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.3 Min

Blacktip sharks are found all over the world, with high populations in subtropical and tropical regions. The blacktip shark (Carcharhinus limbatus) is a Requiem shark species whose genetics are wide-ranging. A blacktip shark from the Gulf of Mexico will, in all probability, be genetically different from another from the Indian Ocean.

While the blacktip shark (Carcharhinus limbatus) may appear as deadly as several other shark types, in reality, it's considered one of the most timid types of Requiem sharks. However, that doesn't mean that they aren't dangerous. This shark species is quite swift and energetic in the water and is capable of devouring many small bony fishes at a time.

We're going to take you through all the most thought-provoking facts about this particular species of Requiem shark. If you've always been curious regarding blacktips, this is the post for you to know how they give birth to their young and about physical features such as the anal fin, pelvic fins and of course, the black tipped fins that give it the name blacktip. To go through more awesome facts-based articles on Kidadl, check out zebra shark and hammerhead shark.

Blacktip Shark Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a blacktip shark?

The blacktip shark is a type of shark.

What class of animal does a blacktip shark belong to?

The blacktip shark is a type of fish in the Animalia kingdom.

How many blacktip sharks are there in the world?

Due to the worldwide distribution of blacktip sharks, it's still unknown as to what the exact number may be in terms of their population. However, their numbers are estimated to be in sharp decline due to overfishing, as they are extremely popular among anglers as game fish.

Where does a blacktip shark live?

Blacktip sharks live in the Ocean.

What is a blacktip shark's habitat?

The blacktip shark thrives in coastal waters, which is why it can be found across all major oceans on the planet. In the Indian Ocean, the blacktip reef shark is commonly found in the coastal regions of Madagascar and South Africa. In the Atlantic Ocean, these sharks are found in the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. In the Pacific Ocean, it is found in the coastal regions of Japan, Australia, Indonesia, the Philippines and several other nations. Some of the common habitats of blacktip sharks include coastal waters, drop-offs close to coral reefs, island lagoons, river mouths and muddy bays.

Who do blacktip sharks live with?

Blacktip sharks live in packs in the Atlantic sea.

How long does a blacktip shark live?

The blacktip shark lives to at least 12 years, and sometimes longer.

How do they reproduce?

Blacktip sharks are viviparous; this means the embryos grow inside the mothers' bodies after they give birth. The spring to early summer period constitutes the mating season for them. It is during this time that the pups are born following a 10-12 month gestation period. Initially, a yolk sac enables the sustenance of the embryos. During the 10th or 11th week of gestation, the yolk sac naturally develops into a placental connection after the yolk supply is exhausted. This placental connection plays a key role in sustaining the embryos until the time comes for the young ones to be birthed. At birth, the length of a pup born in and around Africa ranges from 61-65 cm (24-26 inches), while a pup born in and around the USA has a length of around 55-60 cm (22-24 inches) at birth. Many female blacktip sharks use coastal nurseries at shallow depths located on several Brazilian and North American coasts to nurse the pups. These areas don't have many predators and also have a lot of food.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of blacktip sharks is near threatened. This  is because of the popularity of blacktips as game fishes among anglers, which has led to overfishing. Experts have warned against the hunting of blacktips as their rate of reproduction is quite low.

Blacktip Shark Fun Facts

What do blacktip sharks look like?

A blacktip shark, as the name suggests, has features such as small eyes, a streamlined and robust body, along with a pointed snout. It has gill snits (five pairs) that are relatively longer than those of other Requiem sharks. About 15 rows of teeth are present on either side of the jaws, with the upper jaw having two symphysial teeth and the lower jaw having one. The broad-based teeth are high, have narrow cusps along with serrated edges. Now, let's talk about those black-tipped fins. The first dorsal fin is sickle-shaped and quite long. The first dorsal fin also has a short free rear tip. In all, there are two dorsal fins, but between the second dorsal fin and the first there are no ridges. The large pectoral fins are pointed and falcate. In terms of color, the shark is white below and gray to brown above. Black edges are a hallmark on the caudal fin's upper lobe and the first dorsal fin. Certain large individuals are known for having dorsal and pectoral fins without any markings.

Blacktip sharks don't have any interdorsal ridge between their first and second dorsal fins.

How cute are they?

While you may find a small blacktip cute, it's almost impossible to believe that anyone would find an adult oceanic blacktip shark cute. All in all, the blacktip shark size of an adult is on the bigger side, and like most other Requiem sharks, they look quite scary. Even though they aren't as dangerous as certain Requiem shark species, blacktip shark teeth are known for being extremely sharp and a blacktip shark bite isn't something we recommend taking lightly. Just as it can harm bony fishes, in the same way, it can harm humans as well.

How do they communicate?

Blacktips, like most other sharks, communicate using their senses of electro-perception, smell, sight, and hearing. Their communication is limited. It's either to share food with others in groups in their habitat known as "schools", or to defend food when other sharks and aquatic predators attack their habitat. They also communicate with one another using arched body movements. Blacktips  lack the ability to produce vocalizations as the organs required for vocalization aren't present within them. However, blacktips can produce a limited range of sounds.

How big is a blacktip shark?

The maximum known length of an adult male or female blacktip is 2.8 m (9.2 ft), which is more than five times smaller than the length of an adult basking shark.

How fast can a blacktip shark swim?

According to observations that have been done in the Bahamas in the Atlantic Ocean, the speed that black tips can achieve while jumping out of the water is around 6.3 m/s (21 ft/s). However, it's still unclear as to what the underwater peak speed of a black tip is, be it in the Pacific or in the Gulf of Mexico.

How much does a blacktip shark weigh?

The weight of different blacktips can vary from one black tip to another. However, the maximum known weight of a blacktip is 123 kg (271 lb).

What are their male and female names of the species?

Across the Pacific and the Atlantic, both male and female blacktips are referred to as blacktips. They don't have any gender-specific names.

What would you call a baby blacktip shark?

A baby blacktip shark is referred to as a pup.

What do they eat?

Blacktip sharks eat a wide variety of fishes. In fact, about 90% of their diet include fishes such as herring, sardines, anchovies, sea catfish, ladyfish, groupers, jacks, mackerels, threadfins, mullets, butterfish, grants, emperors, porcupinefish and boxfish. They feed on smaller sharks such as sharpnose and smoothhound sharks as well. Rays, skates, cephalopods, and crustaceans may also be consumed by them.

Are they dangerous?

One of the most amazing blacktip reef shark facts is that blacktips aren't particularly aggressive towards humans in their habitat. This has been reported after several observations were made when divers entered their habitat. However, in the presence of food, blacktips may become quite aggressive and their size and speed would make them quite dangerous to humans.

Would they make a good pet?

Blacktip sharks don't make good pets. Even if you do dare to adopt one, you'd have to invest heavily in a home aquarium and also in its food, which would have to consist of a wide variety of live fishes. In our humble opinion, it's best to leave this shark with their 'near threatened' conversation status in its natural habitat. You could also take steps to raise awareness among anglers regarding the declining numbers of the blacktip reef shark to help the species survive and thrive.

Did you know...

Until their first fall, young blacktip sharks remain in their respective nurseries. During fall, they migrate to their wintering grounds. This is one of the most interesting blacktip shark migration facts.

What eats blacktip sharks?

There are no known predators of the adult blacktip shark. However, young blacktips may be attacked and fed on by sharks of larger sizes.

How many teeth does a blacktip shark have?

The teeth count is 15:2:15 in the upper jaw and 15:1:15 in the lower jaw.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish including goblin shark, or bull shark.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Blacktip shark coloring pages.

Blacktip Shark Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Anchovies, herrings, sardines, ladyfish, flatfish, cornetfish, threadfins, butterfish, mackerel, skates, rays, and many more fish species

What Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?

4 - 7

How Much Did They Weigh?

271 lb

What habitat Do they Live In?

tropical and subtropical waters

Where Do They Live?

worldwide distribution

How Long Were They?

4.9-9.2 ft

How Tall Were They?








Scientific Name

Carcharhinus limbatus

What Do They Look Like?

Grey to brown, white

Skin Type


What Are Their Main Threats?

parasites such as copepods, monogeneans, and nematodes

What is their Conservation Status?

Near threatened
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Written by Joan Agie

Bachelor of Science specializing in Human Anatomy

Joan Agie picture

Joan AgieBachelor of Science specializing in Human Anatomy

With 3+ years of research and content writing experience across several niches, especially on education, technology, and business topics. Joan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Anatomy from the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria, and has worked as a researcher and writer for organizations across Nigeria, the US, the UK, and Germany. Joan enjoys meditation, watching movies, and learning new languages in her free time.

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