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Reef Sharks in Whitsundays Shallow Waters

Whitehaven beach is perhaps best known for its dazzling white sand, crystal clear waters and perfect photographic opportunities. However, visitors to this natural wonderland will often get more than they bargained for, when they spot one of the many Black-tip Reef sharks that cruise silently through the shallow water.

Reef sharks are among the smallest of shark species, growing to a maximum of two metres, and will often be preyed upon by its larger relatives, such as the Tiger Shark. The Reef Shark is an opportunistic feeder, taking small fish, squid, crustaceans, smaller sharks or anything worth scavenging. They have been recorded feeding in groups, herding schools of fish against the shore for easier feeding.

The Reef Sharks preference for areas in close proximity to the shoreline often bring it into regular contact with humans. Despite this, the Reef Sharks poses little or no threat, and even the few recorded cases of contact with humans have resulted in only minor injury. Any bites that occur are often when the shark mistakes an ankle or leg for food, and the mistake is quickly realised.

Like all sharks, the Reef Shark is a widely misunderstood creature, and has suffered great brutality at the hands of humanity. Endangered, along with all sharks, the Reef Shark has seen a dramatic decline in numbers due to overfishing throughout the world, and is now struggling to maintain its existence.

The Reef Shark can often be seen swimming through the shallow waters around Whitehaven beach, and will often allow visitors to approach quite close to them as they search for food. This provides an ideal attraction to the area, and there are few places in the world where humans can interact so closely with such an interesting animal from the surface.

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