Does Bali Have Sharks?

I was talking to a friend who’s been in Bali five times surfing and just living life to the fullest and I asked him if there are any sharks in the waters in Bali?

Well, he said “some”, but since I’ve always been fascinated about sharks I just needed to know more.

Yes, Bali have sharks, and they are normally around the reefs of Padang Bai, Candidasa and Nusa Dua. The type of sharks that you’ll find in Bali are: White Tip Reef Sharks, Black Tip Reef Sharks and Bull Sharks. White and Blacktip sharks are shy and although the Bull Sharks can attack it normally doesn’t have a deadly outcome.

Great White Sharks in Bali – Are They Really There?

So, you might be wondering if the infamous Great White Shark makes an appearance in Bali’s beautiful waters. I mean, after all, we’ve seen them in movies and documentaries, and they’re pretty much the rockstars of the shark world, right?

Well, I did a little digging (or should I say, swimming?) to find out if we should be on the lookout for these toothy celebrities while vacationing in Bali.

Surprise, surprise! It turns out that Great White Sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) are not commonly found in Bali’s tropical waters. Phew! That’s a relief, isn’t it? These oceanic heavyweights prefer cooler waters and are typically found in the coastal regions of Australia, South Africa, and the United States. So, no need to channel your inner shark whisperer just yet.

But hey, don’t be bummed out! Remember, we’ve already got White Tip Reef Sharks, Black Tip Reef Sharks, and Bull Sharks calling Bali their home. And while they may not have the same Hollywood fame as their great white cousins, they’re still fascinating creatures worth learning about and admiring from a safe distance, of course.

Now that we know Great White Sharks aren’t part of Bali’s underwater entourage, you can breathe a sigh of relief and enjoy your time in the water without worrying about accidentally bumping into one of these apex predators.

However, always keep in mind that the ocean is a vast and mysterious place, and it’s essential to be aware of your surroundings and follow safety guidelines when exploring Bali’s beautiful waters. And who knows? Maybe you’ll even spot one of those shy reef sharks on your next snorkeling or diving adventure. Just remember to keep your cool, snap a pic if you can, and marvel at the wonders of the ocean’s diverse marine life.

What kind of sharks do they have in Bali?

Well, like I told earlier there are actually a lot of sharks in the waters of Bali and I thought I would go into more detail about them both.

White Tip Reef Sharks (Triaenodon Obesus)

It’s very common and not difficult to recognise thanks to the white spot on its dorsal fin.

If you see one, you’ll probably notice that they’re curious and when they swim it resembles a wave (like with you hand).

Black Tip Reef Sharks (Carcharhinus Melanopterus)

Also, very common in the waters of Bali and easy to recognice due to the black tips on its fins.

The blacktip reef sharks prefer shallow waters and seeing their dorsal fin with the black dot is something that many tourists can brag about seeing.

Bull Shark (Carcharhinus Leucas)

Compared to the two reef sharks above, the Bull Sharks are known for being aggressive and since it can thrive in saltwater AND freshwater it is most likely responsive for the majority of the bite attacks near-shore.

Are these sharks a threat to humans?

One thing that both the Black and white tip sharks have in common is that they are very shy and prefer to eat small fish, cephalopods, sea snakes and seabirds.

So no, they are not considered a threat for humans.

When it comes to the Bull Sharks, then it has been known to attack humans but all of the attacks have been done while people were surfing and none of them fatal.

So the answer will once again be no.

I would not say Bull Sharks are a threat to adults but one should always be careful when it comes to kids and playing in the water (like you always should).

Have there been any shark attacks in Bali?

Although there have been 5 documented incidents since 2010, none of them have resulted in a deadly outcome.

If you would like to know more you can visit the Shark Attack Database site.

All the victims were surfing at the time of the attack and this is what part of the body that the shark attacked:

  • 3 people right hand
  • 1 Lacerations to forearm
  • 1 Elbow

Why are people so afraid of sharks?

So, when talking about sharks with other people you often get the same reaction and that is a little body shake followed with the sound “yuk”.

I decided to read up on whey we are so afraid of sharks and being bitten.

When reading about the human brain we find out that it’s “wired” to feel first and then think.

In other words, when I first think sharks, I think about these big sharp teeth tearing into my body, and once finished with those thoughts that is when I think:

“Fredrik! You live in Sweden and the only shark near you is when your son plays “baby shark” on YouTube.”

So, why are our brains reacting this way?

Well, if you go back many years when we were living in caves then if you were attacked by an animal then you needed to react.

Not think about if this was a big threat or not before defending yourself or running away.

Other things that scares us when it comes to sharks are that they can sneak up on you and if that happens then you probably won’t be able to escape since they are much better swimmers than you are.

7 tips when spending time in the waters of Bali?

#1 – Wear clothes with dark and dull colours.

Sharks see everything in black and white and when wearing dark clothes, you make it harder for them to see contrast. You should also keep from wearing anything else that is shiny like sunglasses etc.

#2 – Stay away from dirty or polluted waters.

If you are swimming in waters that are full of junk then the shark might mistake you for one of their regular sources of protein.

This also includes being in water that for example fishermen has dumped their spilling’s after cleaning the daily catch.

#3 – Do not swim at night.

You might have trouble seeing at night but sharks have many more senses than sight to find their prey so, stay out of the water and if you absolutely must go for a swim.

Then use the hotel pool.

#4 – Do not enter the water if your bleeding

This should not come as a surprise that blood gets sharks excited.

So, if bleeding, please stay out of the water for everyone’s safety.

#5 – Remain calm

Many years ago, I went to a crocodile show and a little Malaysian man put his head inside the mouth of the crocodile and I thought he was crazy.

The presenter said that the most important thing when it comes to doing that trick is not to touch anything in the crocodile’s mouth since that triggers their hard-wired reflexes to attack.

It’s the same thing with sharks.

If you splash around and makes a lot of noise then it more likely to mistake you for a pray and attack.

Many times, when this happens the shark attacks and immediately when it notices that you are not its regular food source it aborts the attack, but then the damage is already done.

#6 – Stay together

If there is a group of people in the water then sharks normally wont attack.

So, if possible, stay in groups when spending time in the water.

#7 – Defend yourself

This is a super tip and it works for lots of different attacks from wild animals, but if you get attacked then you should defend yourself.

When it comes to sharks you should attach their nose, eyes and gills.

Do sharks travel in groups?

The short answer is yes, but it depends on the species and the circumstances.

Some shark species, such as scalloped hammerhead sharks, are known to gather in large groups near specific locations like seamounts and islands.

Whale sharks, on the other hand, often swim together during feeding aggregations.

These group formations can be influenced by various factors, including mating, foraging, and migration.

However, it is crucial to mention that shark group interactions are usually more loosely organized than those of other marine animals, with individuals freely dispersing and rejoining the group as they please.

So, are there any dangerous animals in the waters of Bali?

Yes, like most beautiful places there are dangers louring in the deep… Well, maybe not that deep.

Since we already talked about sharks here are the most dangerous animals in the waters of Bali.

The Blue-Ringed Octopus

This beautiful little octopus is small (between 5 – 8 inches) and very poisonous.

The problem is that since it’s so small you might have trouble seeing it and if you get stung, then there isn’t any anti-venom so please have your eyes looking for this little “killer”, all the time.

The Sea Wasp

The sea wasp or the Box Jellyfish and Marine Stinger that it’s also called is considered one of the most poisonous animals that we know of on earth.

You should never touch one, not even if you were to stumble upon one on the beach.

The Sea Snakes

The sea snakes are normally not aggressive and if staying clear you will probably never have any problem with them.

But, the problem with the sea snakes are that you will not feel their bite since it does not hurt. And some might even have enough venom to get you killed.

If bitten you will start feeling sick, have a headache and get the feeling of being very thirsty.

The Indonesian Needlefish

The Indonesian Needlefish has one thing in common with a shark and that’s that it isn’t poisonous.

The reason the Indonesian Needlefish is dangerous is because of its extreme speed and that it looks like a needle and will easily penetrate a human body if one were to be in the way.


Are there sharks in Bali?

Yes, there are sharks in Bali’s waters, including Black Tip Reef Sharks, White Tip Reef Sharks, and Bull Sharks. Great White Sharks are not common in Bali.

Are the sharks in Bali dangerous to humans?

While there is always a risk when encountering wild animals, most of the sharks found in Bali, such as Black Tip and White Tip Reef Sharks, are generally shy and not considered a significant threat to humans. Bull Sharks can be more aggressive, but attacks are rare.

How common are shark attacks in Bali?

Shark attacks in Bali are relatively rare, with only a few documented incidents since 2010, none of which resulted in a fatality.

What can I do to minimize the risk of a shark encounter while swimming or diving in Bali?

To reduce the likelihood of a shark encounter, stick to popular swimming and diving spots, avoid swimming at dawn or dusk, and always swim or dive in groups. Stay away from areas where fishing activities occur, as these may attract sharks.

Are there any specific areas in Bali where sharks are more commonly found?

Sharks are often found around the reefs of Padang Bai, Candidasa, and Nusa Dua. However, they can be encountered throughout Bali’s waters.

Can I go diving or snorkeling with sharks in Bali?

Yes, there are diving and snorkeling tours available in Bali that offer the opportunity to swim with sharks, such as Black Tip and White Tip Reef Sharks, in a controlled environment.

What should I do if I encounter a shark while swimming or diving in Bali?

If you come across a shark, remain calm and avoid making sudden movements or splashing. Maintain a safe distance and observe the shark without provoking it. If the shark approaches you, try to slowly back away and return to the shore or boat.

Are there any conservation efforts in place to protect sharks in Bali?

Yes, there are several local and international organizations working to protect sharks in Bali and the surrounding areas. These organizations focus on raising awareness about shark conservation, promoting sustainable fishing practices, and protecting critical shark habitats.