Do Sharks Drown Upside Down?

There’s a common belief that if you flip a shark upside down, it’ll drown. This idea has been around in movies and pop culture for a long time, but it’s not actually true.


Sharks are fish and they breathe through gills, not lungs like humans. They don’t need air to live, instead they get oxygen from the water flowing over their gills. So, flipping a shark upside down won’t stop it from breathing or cause it to suffocate.

The Swim Bladder

But, turning a shark upside down can affect its ability to swim and stay in one place in the water. Sharks have a swim bladder, which is a gas-filled sac in their belly that helps them control their buoyancy and stay afloat. If a shark is flipped over, the swim bladder can get compressed and it might have trouble swimming in a straight line or keeping its position in the water.


Some sharks, like nurse sharks, have a special way to control their buoyancy even when they’re upside down. They have a valve that can let gas out of their swim bladder, so they can adjust their buoyancy as needed.

The Truth About Sharks and Drowning

So, sharks won’t drown if they’re upside down, but it can affect their swimming and buoyancy. It’s also important to remember that handling sharks is dangerous for both the shark and the person. Sharks are strong animals with sharp teeth, so they should always be treated with respect and caution.

In short, the idea that sharks will drown if they’re turned upside down is just a myth. Sharks don’t need air like humans do, but flipping them over can affect their swimming and buoyancy. Always be careful around sharks, as they are wild animals and can be dangerous.