Which sharks lurk in the water around Virginia Beach shore?

Posted at 11:48 AM, Jun 18, 2015
and last updated 2015-06-18 11:53:11-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. -- If you've been to Virginia Beach lately, then you probably swam closer to sharks than you may realize.  The Hampton Roads area is home to several kinds of sharks, and some swim within just a few feet from the shore.

"We're in their habitat," Rachel Metz, Director of Live Exhibits at the Virginia Aquarium, told WTKR.  "There are ways to precaution ourselves and be careful when we do enter the ocean."

There are three main types of sharks that you might see off the coast of Virginia Beach:

  • The dogfish shark
  • The sandbar shark
  • The sand tiger shark.

While these sharks are a part of a smaller species of sharks, experts recommend getting out of the water quickly and quietly if you see one.

"Don't make a lot of noise splashing on the water, because what that will do is attract the sharks to you, if you're splashing and making a lot of movement like a prey item may," Metz said.

Sharks are more scared of humans, according to experts who recommend staying away from sharks in the water and never swimming alone.  They also urge swimmers to avoid swimming during sunrise or sunset.

"That tends to be when animals are most likely to feed," Metz said.  "Sharks have an advantage during that time of day because it's not as brightly lit and they can see better."

Having sharks near the shoreline is a good thing because it means our oceans are healthy ecosystems, according to experts.