Sandbar Shark

Carcharhinus plumbeus

Maximum Size:

8.2 ft (2.5 m), 260 lb (118 kg)


Up to 40 years.

Typical depth:

3–656 ft (1–200 m)


Sandbar sharks, also known as brown sharks, are one of the largest coastal shark species. They are often found over sand and mud habitat and in low-salinity environments such as estuaries and mangroves. They are sometimes mistaken for bull sharks, but are nowhere near as aggressive. Sandbar sharks are opportunistic bottom-feeders that primarily hunt small fish, molluscs and crustaceans, mostly during the night.


Larger shark species, such as tiger and great white sharks.

Did you know?

Since its first discovery by Venetian naturalist Giovanni Domenico Nardo in 1827, the sandbar shark has undergone around a dozen different reclassifications in the scientific literature. It is now understood that the numerous populations that exist around the world are all the same species.


The severity of shark bites often depends on the species that bites. Attacks on humans by sandbar sharks are very rare – they are not generally considered to be a threat. Warning signs of a shark attack include head swings, exaggerated swimming, back arching and lowered pectoral fins. Attacks usually result in biting or raking with the teeth, which can cause deep lacerations.


Exit the water as soon as possible. Rinse the affected area with soap and water. Apply pressure to control the bleeding and elevate the affected limb above the heart. It is not unusual for someone bitten by a shark to require treatment for shock. In this case, keep them warm, calm and in the shade, and do not provide anything to eat or drink. Lay the person on their back and elevate their legs above their head. Seek medical attention as soon as possible, even for minor bites, which will probably require cleaning and suturing.


The treatment advice contained in this book is meant for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, either in terms of diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider if you are injured by a marine organism. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read in this book.