Do Sharks Jump Out of the Water? Here’s How High!

Great white sharks can jump out of the water using an incredible amount of energy to propel themselves up to 10 feet in the air.

This behavior is called breaching and only a few sharks employ this tactic to hunt sea lions or seals.

Mostly, great white sharks are the only species of sharks that jump out of the water, and they do it just on very rare occasions. Breaching is very effective to hunt fast-moving prey, but great white sharks can’t afford to spend so much energy that often. Otherwise, they would be left vulnerable.

Great white sharks around 2000 pounds of weight can reach a speed of 40 miles per hour when swimming on the surface. This leaves their prey incapacitated or even dead straight away if the shark hits them. However, great white sharks don’t typically kill their prey with the first contact.

Shark in the water

What shark species jump out of the water?

Not all sharks breach. Most shark species are built to hunt underwater where they can be the fastest. However, great white sharks and Mako sharks can launch themselves out of the water to hunt.

The great whites are commonly seen breaching in South Africa, where they reach heights of 8 to 10 feet in their jump. In South Africa, the ocean provides an ideal scenario for great white sharks to breach for two reasons.

First, the waters are vastly deep, allowing great whites to prey patiently and reach incredibly fast speeds in their way up. And second, a large number of seals spend most of the day swimming not far away from the surface, making breaches an inevitable choice for sharks.

On the other hand, Mako sharks can jump even higher than great whites. In fact, Mako sharks are somewhat similar in appearance to great whites but smaller. They are the fastest species of shark and can jump twice as high as great white sharks. That is up to 20 feet above the water.

Mako sharks also breach in search of prey swimming close to the surface. However, Mako sharks can jump out of the water on more repeated occasions.

What to do if a shark is circling or jumping?

Even though a shark circling you could appear as imminent death, it isn’t. Several times, sharks are only passing through and not in attack mode. However, there are a couple of actions you should do whenever a shark is threatening you.

Stay as calm as possible – Sharks will become more interested in attacking a person if this one swims and splashes a lot of water around.

Don’t lose the shark out of sight – Sharks usually attack from behind. Trying to stay in front of the shark and covering one’s back is the best.

Adopt the correct posture – If a shark is in attack mode, the person should stand and look bigger. Otherwise, curling up will reduce the shark’s interest in the person.

Slowly return to the shore – Still facing the shark, gently swim backward toward shallow depths. Stay alert until you reach the shore because large sharks can follow prey to shallow water.

Escaping a shark attack without injuries, especially one from a big shark, it’s very unlikely. However, the above instructions can help you to some extent in surviving the attack.