SHARKS IN PHUKET — HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF?

The tropical location of Thailand, warm water, a variety of sea life attract to the seas bathe this country not only tourists from all over the world, but also sea inhabitants. The underwater fauna of the Thai waters is various, presented by numerous types among which sharks by right are considered as one of the most picturesque.

Different in size (but in most cases rather large), strict in the shape (but meet also very carnival look) – these animals are interesting to all divers. Having a rest, not carried away by scuba diving and hunting, on the contrary, are rather afraid of these fishes. However their fear is exaggerated.

What sharks live in the waters of Phuket

Sharks live in waters of Thailand on both sides of the Malay Peninsula – both in the Andaman Sea, and in the Gulf of Thailand.  However, the first is known for its beautiful and diverse underwater life. This is also true of sharks, represented by a wide variety of species in the waters surrounding Phuket.

 

White-tip reef shark

The most common sharks in the Pacific region are sharks, living in addition, and in the waters of the Indian Ocean. The animal belongs to the well-known family of gray sharks. Accordingly, it has a traditional gray color for all members of the family.

Distinctive feature of this species (Triaenodon obesus, lat.) are the tips of fins painted in white color. The reef species is not large: in length these fish rarely exceed 1.5 m. Due to the relatively large population and fast behavior often falls in the field of view of people.

Black-tip Reef Shark

Another representative of the gray family with a wide range of habitats in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Despite the fact that the black-tip reef shark is a separate species (Carcharhinus melanopterus, lat.), Outwardly it resembles a white-reef shark: a small size (up to 1.5 m), a wide slightly flattened head, streamlined body.

Edging of the fins is not white, but black. Loves reefs, dwells shallowly, because of what is easy to observe the object. Also known as Malgash Night.

Leopard Shark

This fish of leopard coloring treats the big cat family of sharks. Its full name is a leopard whiskered cat’s shark (Poroderma pantherinum, lat.).

For this small animal — no more than 1 m in length — it is characteristic of bottom habitat: in reefs, in algae, close to the sandy bottom, have the habit of hiding in underwater caves.

Shark-nurse

Moustached shark nurse (Ginglymostoma cirratum, lat.), though is an endemic of the Atlantic Ocean, it is well presented in waters of the Andaman Sea, including she can be met also near Phuket. On the appearance she reminds a leopard shark. And it isn’t casual: both look belong to one big cat family.

Inhabits the bottom — for this reason it is easily accessible for observation. A small (up to 0.5 m), a little sluggish and not threatening a person, despite its 7 rows of sharp and small teeth, the nanny-shark has traditionally been of interest to practicing cognitive and safe diving near the shore.

Types of sharks that rare for Phuket

White-gray shark (Carcharhinus albimarginatus, lat.) — should not be confused with the white reef, discussed above — a large representative of the shark family. It reaches a length of 2-2.5 m. It has a characteristic torpedo-like body shape, vertically narrowed to the head and tail. White edge on all fins serves as its distinctive feature from a dark gray shark similar to it. The latter is not found in the waters of Phuket.

White-gray predator likes coastal areas, reefs, you can often meet near the island. The behavior is sharp, like appearance, aggressive. The size allows it to dominate the majority of underwater inhabitants, incl. over other representatives of his family.

The whale shark (Rhincodon typus, lat.) does not appear near the coasts. However, if you dive far in the Andaman Sea, then there is a chance to find the largest representative. This sluggish fish reaches a length of 20 m. Not everyone will take a risk, but even an observation at a distance will not leave indifferent any diver.

The stingray (Rhina ancylostoma, lat.), although not a shark in accordance with the zoological classification, can be mentioned in this review, primarily due to its completely shark size (up to 3 m in length) and the unusual extended body shape (similar on the ramp). Color spotted. His behavior calm and majestic. To meet this sea hulk is a great success and a continuous delight.

How dangerous are sharks in Phuket

Virtually harmless. As proof of this, the following arguments can be cited:

These animals lead a nocturnal life: to meet them if possible, it is only early in the morning.

Hunting in muddy water, which is not typical of coastal waters.

The predators do not swim in the rest zone: the beaches from the open sea are fenced off with nets, special people monitor the safety of tourists.

People are not an object of hunting for sharks and are of no interest to them.

It is known only about one accident that occurred in Phuket because of the shark.

In 2015, in the waters of Karon beach from the bite of a sea predator, one resting person was injured. It happened at a distance of 200 m from the shore.  Depth of the sea in this place did not exceed 1.5 m, and woman was in the water, standing with feet on a sandy bottom. The animal clung to the woman in the leg.

The bite was accompanied by a typical shark predatory «shaking» in order to snatch a part of the flesh. Despite the fact that the woman was unable to determine precisely the species belonging to the predator attacking her due to the suspended sand suspension, it was confirmed by a set of indirect signs after the fact that it was the shark. Namely — bull shark.

Bull shark

The species carcharhinus leucas (lat.) is also known under the names of a bull-shark and a gray bull shark. Belongs to the family of gray sharks: it has a characteristic color and body shape. Dwells in tropical waters everywhere, does not go to great depth, preferring coastal waters.

Burlap sharks are large: they reach a length of more than 2.5 m. They differ in aggressive behavior. They are considered to be the only shark that represents a potential danger to humans.

Nevertheless, even for a blunt sharks, an attack on people is not characteristic. In order not to become a victim of this predator, certain rules of behavior must be observed.

How to protect yourself from sharks in Phuket

For floating the following tips are useful:

Bathing should be in specially designated places for this. Do not swim for the buoys. «Wild» beaches are more dangerous than «civilized» beaches.

Do not stay in the water if it is cloudy, opaque, with a slurry of sand, algae, etc. All predators, including moray eels, fugues, triggers, barracudas, hunt in troubled waters, disorienting the victim.

Swim and bathe in the company of other people. Predators always attack lonely individuals.

When the shark appears, assume the vertical position of the body. Raise your arms and legs wider so as not to look like a fish. You should not move in the water.

Please, being in the water do not urinate because predators attract any physiological fluid.

Recommendations for divers include the following tips:

The diver’s equipment must be of a dark color, without shiny elements.

Hanging loose elements in equipment are excluded: belts, hoses, etc.

When a shark appears, a person should assume a position close to vertical.

The diver must exercise the utmost care and control the movement of the fish around him.

Prohibited sudden movements, including a rapid ascent or dive.

The shark should not be touched by hands. Their skin, rough as sandpaper, you can easily be injured.

In conclusion, it should be noted that the danger of sharks for humans is exaggerated. People are not part of their diet and are of no interest to these animals. On the contrary, sharks, including in Thailand, suffer from humans, being exposed to uncontrolled catches for their meat and fins.

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