Shark Week: Sand Tiger Shark (Raggie Shark Diving)
Not all shark adventures have to be done from the safety of a cage. Scuba diving with sharks is a fantastic way to gain a new appreciation of these beautiful creatures. Spending a week Sand Tiger Shark diving (otherwise known as Raggie sharks) on the Protea Banks is the best way to see these sharks in their natural habitat.
Sand Tiger Shark Week is a few months off, but it doesn’t hurt to plan and book your dive early. The best time of the year to see these sharks is in August. From the 12th of August to the 18th of August 2018, Dive the Big 5 is hosting its annual Sand Shark Diving Week. Not only is the Protea Banks a diving paradise, but it is also a great place to relax and enjoy a holiday. Well away from a big city, and close to the stunning greenery that can only be found in this humid part of the country, there are activities other than diving that you can indulge in.
Although they have quite the fearsome appearance, these sharks are not as aggressive as they look. They will leave divers alone unless they are provoked in some way. They have a tendency to really prefer the coastline as their habitat and they’ll often stick close to the ocean floor. You won’t have to dive to exceptional depths to see them. Generally, like the Tiger Shark, they prefer to live in warmer waters. This makes our warm Indian Ocean and its currents the perfect place to find the Sand Tiger Shark.
These are the only sharks in the world that are known to come to the surface for air. They do this when hunting. The air is stored in their stomachs and it enables them to float completely motionless. They tend to only hunt at night and their diet consists mostly of small fish, crustaceans and squid. Sand Tiger Sharks tend to hunt in groups and it is not unusual for them to attack fishing nets to get at the day’s catch!
Facts about Sand Tiger Sharks
In many ways, the Sand Tiger Shark is quite different from other species. If you have not yet done a shark dive and you are looking for a relaxed experience, this might be the ideal trip for you. To give you more information about the Sand Tiger Shark, here are a few facts:
- These sharks are known to be cannibalistic when in utero. The gestation period lasts for 9 months, and during that time some of the pups will eat the other pups.
- The sharks are named after their habitats. They are very fond of living along sandy shorelines.
- There is more than one name for the Sand Tiger Shark, depending on where you live in the world. In Africa, they are known as Ragged-Tooth Sharks (Raggies for short), in Australia they are called Gray Nurse Sharks, and in the United Kingdom and the United States, they are referred to as Sand Tiger Sharks.
- While their toothy appearance makes them look like killers, there have only been 29 confirmed attacks on humans since the 1500s. And not one attack was fatal.
- They move slowly through the waters, and divers can easily keep up.
- In recent years there has been a noticeable downward trend in their breeding patterns. The population numbers are lower than they should be, leaving the species vulnerable. There are also human threats. Sand Tiger Sharks are hunted for their fins, liver oil and meat. Conservation efforts are underway to try to give the sharks more protection.
Sand Tiger Shark Diving Week
As we’ve said, it’s still early days seeing that this Shark Week will only be taking place in August. But this is the perfect time to book your dive. The itinerary consists of 5 days of diving, with 2 tank dives a day. If you dive during our Shark Week you have a 95% chance of seeing these sharks. This is based on our experience. We cannot guarantee that you will see these sharks, since they are not on our payroll, but chances are very good that if you dive during this time period, you’ll spot a few swimming ideally by.