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NOW READING: How Long Do Sharks Live?

How long can a shark survive

How Long Do Sharks Live?

Humans like us; we need to go to great lengths to appear younger than we are. However, it seems like they do it personally when it comes to sea creatures such as sharks. So, how long do sharks live? Well, knowing the shark’s lifespan is kind of a hard task, as sharks are known as tough creatures in nature.

We can’t just monitor them in the ocean because they keep migrating and have different feeding patterns. More so, a shark’s life expectancy is considered shorter than those who are in the wild. That’s why in this blog, you will know how long sharks live and more facts about them. We will also reveal their lifespans to understand how they live that long.

Sharks and their Lifespan 

How long do sharks live? Years ago, studies began to show that there are a lot of sharks that live longer than those previously suspected. So, they now provide GPS technology to track the migration patterns of sharks and their habits in life. This is to provide more accurate data about sharks.

The lifespan of a shark may vary according to its species. Even though most of them could live about 20-30 years, some could still live much longer than others. Scientists also discovered a 400-year-old shark in 2016. It’s proof that some sharks can live for more than 100 years. But, of course, each species of shark has a different life expectancy.

Sharks' lifespan

Determining the Age of Sharks 

How long do sharks live? It’s quite challenging to always monitor the sharks in the water, especially since there are a lot of shark species in the ocean. However, research also found that the life expectancy of sharks in captivity is considered shorter than the sharks living in their natural habitats. 

So, it would be understandable why there’s no point in generating deductions from the sharks living in captivity. However, scientists have a way to determine the age of the sharks. What they do is just count the number of growth rings on the sharks’ vertebrae, with each of the rings standing for a year. 

Age of Sharks According to Species

To help you understand, here’s the average life expectancy of some of the common species of sharks. 

Whale Sharks 

Whale sharks are believed to live for more than 100 years. It signifies that the time to reach their sexual maturity could belong, and it requires more time for offspring to be born. Some experts also believe that the number of their growth rings may also be an indicator of age. However, in captivity, whale sharks aren’t comfortable.  

Great White Shark

Scientists believe that the life expectancy of Great White Sharks could be around 30 years. Other research indicates that Great White Sharks can reach up to 40 years. However, according to a study in 2014, their lifespan could be as long as 70 years or even more! That makes them one of the longest cartilaginous fishes ever lived.

Tiger Sharks 

Tiger Sharks are usually found in tropical and subtropical waters in the world. In the wild, the expected lifespan of Tiger Sharks on average could reach 27 years. Though some Tiger Sharks may live up to 50 years, Tiger Sharks in captivity don’t live that long. They can only live up to about 17-20 years in captivity.

Blue Sharks

Blue Sharks can grow about 383 cm long but only have an average of 180-240 cm. Their maximum lifespan is still unknown at the moment, but they are thought to at least live for about 15-16 years and may even reach up to 20 years.

How long does a shark live

Brown Sharks or SandBar Sharks

Brown Sharks are believed to live for 20-30 years, or even more than that. Male Brown Sharks can live up to 15 years, of which they reach sexual maturity when they are 12 years old. On the other hand, females can reach 21 or 30 years of age and reach their sexual maturity at approximately 13 years of age.

Silky Sharks

The Silky Shark species are known to have 23 years and an average of 25 years. They are large and slender sharks that come with long and flat snouts. Males mature when they reach their 9th-10th year, while females reach maturity when they reach 12 years old.

Hammerhead Sharks 

Hammerhead sharks are usually found in warmer waters along continental shelves and coastlines. The average life expectancy of Hammerhead Sharks is around 20-30 years. The oldest recorded Hammerhead Shark was thought to be around 40 years of age. 

It is believed that Hammerhead Sharks are endangered already, based on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. This is mainly because of the quality and size of their fins.

How long can a shark live

Why Should Sharks not be Kept in Captivity? 

There are many reasons why sharks should swim freely and not be kept in tanks. One of the reasons is that the senses of sharks are sensitive. Most of the species have 10-13 senses, and the number of resources for an aquarium just wasn’t enough for their needs.

A confined environment causes them to become very frustrated, especially when they see crowds at an aquarium. Just imagine what it must be like when you’re held captive in a tank. That’s not even a fraction of their natural habitat.

The next reason why sharks should not be kept in captivity is that they could die quickly when they’re not in the ocean. No matter what all zookeepers do, sharks can sense if they live in the ocean of just an aquarium. Worse, they could even ram into the walls of the aquariums and hurt themselves. There are also times when they just stop swimming, and when that happens, they will need water to constantly flow on their gills to breathe. If that won’t happen, it may lead to death.


Sharks are important to the ecosystem. They affect all levels of the food web, and they help maintain the structure towards having a healthy ocean ecosystem. Now that you know how long sharks live, hopefully, you realize that they need to be free and swim in their natural habitats. Let us prevent having them in captivity because most of them are endangered already.

Furthermore, if you’re fascinated by sharks and want to remember their importance in our lives, you may check us here at Atolea Jewelry for some Shark-inspired jewellery. Wearing any of that jewellery including other of our Ocean-inspired jewelry will make you remember them, especially their importance in our lives.

How long does a shark lives

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