The waters off Cozumel are clear and warm year round, making the island a popular destination for divers from all over the world. This area houses part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second largest barrier reef in the world, and is home to a great variety of corals, invertebrates, and fish, including sharks. The kinds of sharks in Cozumel range from the very small to the very large, and each is a delight to see on the reef. Here are just a few sharks in Cozumel you may come across on your dive.
One of the kinds of sharks in Cozumel just happens to be the largest fish on Earth. Some people claim this shark can grow to 60 feet long, though whale sharks of about 40 feet are more common. This huge animal has a large, flat head and a humped, ridged back. It also has ridges along is sides. Whale sharks are a migratory species that prefer to swim in open water, but can sometimes be encountered around shallower coral reefs. Amazingly, and thankfully, this shark is completely harmless to humans and is often as inquisitive about divers as they are the shark. Despite its size, there’s nothing to fear: this filter feeder feasts on plankton and small fish.
This big shark grows to between 18 and 23 feet long. It gets its name because of the vertical stripes of dark gray over a pale gray body. It has a mouth full of curved and serrated teeth and a ridge between its dorsal fins. It can be found near the surface to depths of around 460 feet. This shark is known for attacking human beings, so it should be observed at a distance. Tiger sharks are born alive and a female can have as many as 80 young at a time. The tiger shark has a reputation for being voracious and will eat just about anything, from other fish, to birds to carrion to tin cans and other refuse.
The chain catshark — also known as the chain dogfish — is a small, peculiar looking shark with vivid markings. It has a pattern of chainlike or reticulated black lines over a pale brown background. It has short gill openings, a short snout, and a spiracle behind each eye. Measuring only about 19 inches long, the chain catshark can be found near the bottom of the sea near the coastline. The females lay their eggs in cases known as mermaid’s purses. Biologists assume that it’s a bottom feeder, since the stomachs of some of these sharks have been shown to be full of pebbles.