In this post, we’re going to take a closer look at the mako shark and answer a question we are asked regularly here at MarinePatch. Are Mako sharks dangerous?
In short, yes Mako sharks are dangerous. Mako sharks are wild animals and can be unpredictable at times, making them dangerous for humans to be around.
The mako shark is a mean, aggressive-looking shark that is a predator in the ocean. The mako is actually the fastest swimming shark, with speeds of up to 45 – 60mph (72 – 96.5km/h) there is no escaping a mako.
The Mako shark’s top speed can match the speed of a car on a highway. This lean, swift, and streamlined shark is shaped like a bullet, allowing it to cut through water effortlessly.
Let’s take a closer look…
Are Mako Sharks Actually Dangerous?
The Mako shark is widely considered one of the most dangerous sharks for humans, but not for the reason you might think. They are incredibly fast, semi-aggressive, and have a nasty attitude.
These sharks can live as long as 30 years old and can grow up to 13 feet long. They are perfectly adapted predators and use their skills to hunt prey such as Tuna, Billfish, and Swordfish.
Their prey is smart, fast, and powerful, so the Mako shark has adapted in order to develop similar traits to their prey. This is called convergent evolution.
Its body is like a torpedo, which reduces drag and allows it to exhibit fast bursts of speed to catch their prey
Not only that, but the Mako has evolved a caudal keel, which is a massive muscle that connects the muscle to the tail.
This is where the Mako shark gets all of its speed in the water and is something that the tuna also has.
These sharks have excellent sensors, as do all sharks. Their vision is exceptional, combine this with their incredible speeds and they can spot, and keep up with their prey.
Mako sharks also have some the nastiest set of teeth out of all the sharks. They can look scarier than Great White sharks because of this.
Their teeth are like razor blades, and they change a lot as the Mako shark’s diet changes drastically from a juvenile into adulthood.
Do Mako Sharks Attack Humans?
Shortfin Mako sharks are the most dangerous to humans when they are caught by fishermen and brought into fishing boats.
The good news is that Mako sharks have only been responsible for one fatal attack out of the nine recorded attacks on humans.
That said, this doesn’t necessarily make them safe to get in the water with. Mako sharks, along with White Sharks are predators of the ocean, and they are not used to being around people.
For this reason, if they see a human in the water they may come in close to investigate, but that doesn’t mean they want to bite you.
Once they calm down and understand what you’re all about, they can be excellent sharks to dive with, although this is not something I would recommend.
As with all sharks, they can be unpredictable at times, and if feel threatened they may attempt a warning bite.
However this is incredibly rare, these sharks are so smart that they understand we are off the menu and will likely flee than bite a human.
For the most part, these sharks are not super dangerous for humans, unless you’re a fisherman and pulling one into your boat.
As these sharks are so powerful and have a set of razorblade-like teeth, they can thrash around in the boat and easily cause damage to the boat or injure fishermen.
Are Mako Sharks Aggressive?
Although Mako sharks are predators of the ocean, they need to be aggressive in order to swiftly catch and kill their prey.
This shark has a bite force of over 3000 pounds of pressure, allowing the shark to slice and shred anything it grabs onto.
This is incredible for the size of this shark, to put the Makos bite force into perspective it has recorded the second most powerful bite of any animal on the planet.
Mako sharks are not particularly aggressive towards humans, as they understand that we are not food. However, there have been some reported attacks on humans from Mako sharks.
A typical sign of an oncoming attack from a Mako is when the shark starts to swim in a figure of eight pattern and swim towards the victim with its mouth open.
This is a giveaway that the shark is not friendly and is about to strike.
Can Mako Sharks Be Friendly?
Mako sharks are not particularly friendly towards humans, likely because they rarely encounter us whilst out in the ocean.
That said, they are incredibly inquisitive sharks, and will often swim right up to divers to check them out and get a feel for them.
Makos have the biggest brain-to-weight ratio out of any species of shark, they are some of the most intelligent sharks and know we are not prey.
Oftentimes when people encounter Makos in the wild, once the shark starts to settle they have amazing encounters with them that are peaceful and non-aggressive.
Take a look at this friendly Mako shark scoping out some divers off the coast of Australia.
Sharks have incredible senses, which is part of what makes them some of the most effective predators on the planet.
They are able to tell if we are a danger or threat to them, or if we’re panicking or scared.
Keeping calm whilst in the water with sharks is essential, and the video above is a perfect example of a friendly Mako shark encounter.
Sharks get a bad wrap from the media, but they really are not the man-eating, mindless monsters that they are made out to be.
How Many People Have Been Attacked By A Mako Shark?
In total from 1580 to the present day, there has been nine recorded Mako shark attacked with only one fatal according to the International Shark Attack File at Florida Museum.
These sharks are not interested in humans and will only attack if they feel threatened or provoked by a human.
When they do, it’s often a warning bite and not an attempt to kill, and it’s usually because the shark is startled or confused.
The main cause of being people injured by Mako sharks is when fishermen pull them into their fishing boats and the shark is thrashing around.
So, are Mako sharks dangerous? Yes, they can be. Although these sharks are not interested in humans as prey, they can still cause us injury, especially to fishermen.
All wild animals can be dangerous, as they all can behave slightly differently and are unpredictable at times.
It’s important to be incredibly cautious and careful, especially around Mako sharks in the wild. However, the number of attacks and fatalities from Mako sharks is very small in comparison to other animals.
You’re much more likely to be killed by being struck by lightning than a shark attack, so try not to panic if you ever find yourself around a Mako.
Thanks for taking the time to read this post and I hope you’ve learned something new today about this fascinating shark.
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Hi, I’m George – the founder of MarinePatch. I created this blog as marine wildlife has been my passion for many years and I’ve spent decades learning and dedicating myself to documenting all I can about the topic.