When it comes to large sea creatures being able to jump out of the water, we’ve all seen the usual ones.
Whether we saw it in a video or were actually lucky enough to see it in person, many of us will have witnessed dolphins or whales jumping out of the water, before splashing right back in.
However, some will wonder whether a shark can do the same thing. Can sharks jump out of water?
Well, we’ve got the answers for you. In our handy guide below, you’ll find out all about whether sharks can jump out of water.
On top of that, you’ll find out plenty of other facts about their jumping capabilities, especially across different species of shark. Read on!
Can Sharks Jump Out Of Water?
To begin with, let’s answer the main question. Sharks can jump out of water. However, it isn’t to do with showing off, like dolphins might, or to get some air.
Instead, sharks jump out of the water because they are chasing prey. When a shark is chasing its prey, hunting in order to kill it, they go very quickly.
Due to these great speeds, they are able to jump right out of the water briefly. However, it can be quite rare to see a shark jump out of the water.
Given that they do it in order to catch prey, this means that it will differ all over the world, because sharks catch different prey in different places.
This means that in some oceans, the sharks won’t be leaping out of the water, because their typical prey simply doesn’t require the same hunting tactics.
For this reason, it isn’t too common for a shark to jump out of water, and you will only see it in certain locations with certain types of shark and prey.
How Does A Shark Jump Out Of The Water?
When a shark is hunting down prey, they swim across the bottom of the ocean.
They do this so that prey won’t see them and escape, instead allowing the shark to hunt while remaining hidden.
However, being at the bottom of the seabed also means that the shark will likely be swimming upwards to catch the prey.
With the shark at the bottom, it can scan the ocean above and catch some unsuspecting.
A lot of great white sharks will use this technique when the ocean is anywhere between 26 and 30 meters in depth, giving it plenty of room to stay hidden at the bottom.
When it does spot prey, for example a seal, it angles itself upwards and swims.
Typically, the angle at which it swims will be 45 degrees, carving a nice angle up and to the right.
It will take these sharks just 1.2 seconds to reach the surface, swimming all those meters in just that short amount of time.
This is incredibly quick, and it allows it to jump out of the water at an impressive height. But how high?
How High Can Sharks Jump Out Of The Water?
Due to the incredible speed at which the shark can swim upwards, as well as the extreme depths they were at, it gives them a big run up and allows them to jump out of the water very high.
The height that a shark can jump out of the water can depend on the species of shark. For example, a Mako shark can jump out of the water at a height of up to 9 meters.
By contrast, the great white sharks that we mentioned earlier cannot achieve nearly as high.
When a great white shark is hunting its prey and swimming upwards from the ocean floor in 1.2 seconds, it will shoot out of the water, where it is able to jump up 10 feet in height.
For comparison, 9 meters is equivalent to just under 29.5 feet.
This means that the Mako is capable of jumping almost 3 times the height of the best jumps from a great white shark.
However, as we mentioned at the start of the article, not all sharks will jump out of the water. In fact, it is quite rare.
A shark jumps out of the water in order to hunt and catch its prey, and in some oceans of the world the species of shark simply don’t need to do that for their prey.
As a result, sharks jumping out of the water is quite rare.
Sharks that do jump include: the great white shark, the mako shark, spinner sharks, thresher sharks, basking sharks, and some blacktips.
Why Can A Mako Shark Jump So High?
The Mako shark can jump out of the water to an impressive height of 9 meters, far more than a great white shark can manage.
This is all to do with how quickly it can move, because it shoots up through the water at incredible speeds that allow it to then elevate very high when above the surface.
The reason that they can go so quickly is because their body is in the shape of something more like a torpedo, making it very aerodynamic, reducing the amount of drag as it moves.
As a result, the Mako shark can reach around 36 miles per hour in speed, which is how much they need in order to jump out of the water – and achieve such heights as 9 meters.
They don’t just stop there, however.
During the hunting of just one prey, a Mako shark will jump out of the water multiple (around 3) times, increasing their speed with every go.
How High Would A Megalodon Jump?
If you’ve heard of a Megalodon, then you probably know that it was the biggest shark in existence.
Stretching almost 60 feet, these sharks were once an incredible sight millions of years ago, but have long been extinct since.
We know about them, though, thanks to Megalodon fossils that have been unearthed over the years.
From these, we have been able to determine their size, as well as how high they might have been able to jump.
It is estimated that a Megalodon was able to jump as much as 10 feet up out of the water, which is impressive considering its enormous size.
To put it into context, they are smaller than the biggest blue whales – but blue whales cannot jump out of the water.
Where Can You See A Mako Shark Jump?
Since Mako sharks are pretty much the highest jumpers out of the living shark species, you might want to know where you can find one, in the hopes that you might see them jumping out of the water.
Of course, if you ever do try to see one, you must make sure that you are at a very safe distance and in a safe place. Sharks are dangerous.
Mako sharks can be found in places with warm climates, which will have mild water temperatures for them to enjoy.
Places that fit these characteristics are locations such as New Zealand and Australia, which is why you can often see them in those waters.
Do Mako Sharks Hunt Seals?
Since we mentioned that great white sharks hunt seals, as an example, do Mako sharks do too?
They certainly do, hunting seals and sea lions in the same jumping manner. For the Mako, the seal is very easy to hunt.
However, those are not all that the Mako shark eats. Additionally, a Mako will eat a varied diet.
This includes animals like swordfish and mackerel, as well as cephalopods like squid and octopus, and even sea birds.
Sharks jump out of the water to catch prey, but only some species do this.