How Many Babies Do Sharks Have

How Many Babies Do Sharks Have?

Sharks reproduce to maintain their species. And, considering the population of sharks, you may start to wonder “How many babies do sharks have?” At least, for each reproduction cycle and delivery, how many young ones come forth?

**Sharks can have young ones ranging from 1 – 100 pups. The truth is that the number of offspring expected of a shark depends on the shark species. Some sharks can only give birth to very few offspring at a time, while others can deliver so many. It also depends on the process of reproduction, whether the shark is viviparous, ovoviviparous, or oviparous. **

Sharks that lay egg seems to have more babies than sharks that give birth to their young ones alive.

There are several interesting facts that you would love to know about sharks and the number of baby sharks they have.

Let’s start from,

What Do You Call Baby Sharks?

For sharks, we call their “babies” PUPS.

Pups are young sharks. They are a very independent species. They learn how to survive and adapt immediately they are born. Of course, sharks do not show any parental care to their young ones.

Baby sharks even come with full teeth set and ready to hunt immediately after birth.

How Are Baby Sharks Born?

There are 3 different ways different shark species give birth to their young ones.

These include:

1. Viviparity

In viviparity, the females hatch the eggs inside their bodies. The embryos now feed from their mother through the placenta. The placenta transfers nourishment from the mother to the babies. In all, sharks that reproduce through viviparity give birth to their young alive.

During birthing, viviparous sharks can produce a litter ranging from about 2 – 20 pups, it can be more. Sharks that are viviparous include the Bull sharks, Lemon shark, Blue shark, Silvertip sharks, whale sharks, Hammerheads, etc.

2. Oviparity

Oviparity sharks are egg layers. They usually drop their eggs at specific locations in the ocean. The eggs deposited will eventually hatch to give pups, of course, if predators do not find them first. The parents do not guard the eggs.

Shark eggs are also called mermaid’s purses. Sharks that lay eggs include the Zebra shark, the catsharks, the swellshark, and the Horn shark.

3. Aplacental Viviparity (Ovoviviparity)

This method of delivery involves the female sharks hatching their eggs within their body just before delivery. Here, the sharks don’t have the placenta to feed through their mother. The embryos usually feed on the egg yolk until hatching.

They are mostly delivered soon after hatching. However, sometimes the pups feed on unfertilized eggs, and in some critical cases, they may even feed on each other. This becomes a survival of the fittest in the womb.

Examples of sharks that are ovoviviparous are:- Great white sharks, Tiger sharks, Sawsharks Sand tiger sharks, and so on.

In some sharks, the pups struggle to survive in the tummy. This is so because some of the developing pups can eat each other in a process known as oophagy.

For sharks that lay eggs, they try to lay their eggs in a safe place to avoid predation. However, after the eggs hatch, the pups survive all by themselves.

What Kind of Sharks Give Live Birth?

Most shark species give birth to live young ones. Giving birth to live young ones can come as viviparity or ovoviviparity. In each case, the pups come out of their mother ready to move on.

These pups are born with a full set of teeth and are fully ready to take care of themselves. Hence, the pups can quickly swim away.

At times, they swim away to prevent being eaten by other sharks.

How Do Sharks Get Pregnant?

The sharks’ way of getting pregnant is very amazing.

The female shark after being fertilized by the male shark carries the fertilized egg in her womb.

Unlike some other species of fish that go through external fertilization, sharks are internally fertilized.

For the male shark to fertilize the female shark, it has to get the female shark to stay at a place.

To achieve this, the male shark can bite the female shark’s fins or back. This is usually a violent mating ritual.

When the female is in position, the male shark can then easily insert his “Clasper” into her “Cloaca”.

The male then transfers sperm into the female. This in return causes fertilization and makes the female pregnant.

Unlike humans, who like their husbands to be around during pregnancy, to care about the baby and all that, the female shark does not get such privilege.

The male shark usually abandons the female shark after getting her pregnant. More interesting is that several males can even impregnate a female shark.

How Long Are Sharks Pregnant?

Various animals have a particular period of time for which they can carry their pregnancy. This is so with sharks; however, the pregnancy period of sharks varies with species.

Thus, some sharks’ pregnancy period can last for 5 to 6 months while some others reach up to 2 years.

A species of shark, the frilled shark can gestate for about 3.5 years. While on the other hand, the spiny dogfish shark period of gestation is about 2 years.

It all depends on the species of shark in question.

Do Sharks Give Birth Through Their Mouth?

Whether sharks give birth through their mouths cannot be doubted. Of course, sharks are very creatures. There are a lot of features they display that are not common.

However, sharks don’t necessarily give birth through the mouth. Although, a species of shark, Port Jackson sharks carry their egg case in their mouth looking for a safe place to lay the egg.

They keep the egg case in the mouth to protect the young shark.

If sharks can give birth through their mouth is very interesting to know.

Do Sharks Give Birth to More Than One Baby at Once?

Most sharks give birth to more than 1 baby once. Some give birth to up to 10 babies once. The female shark has two uteruses, so they can carry multiple embryos at once.

Research shows that sperms are stored in the shark’s womb. This is so that when one shark is born, the sperm can immediately fertilize another developed egg and makes more babies.

How Many Babies Can A Bull Shark Have at Once?

This species of shark, the bull shark gestates for 12 months. They are viviparous; hence, they give birth to their young ones live.

The bull shark can give birth to about 1 – 13 young ones live. Their young ones are usually small at birth about 27.6 inches (70cm) at birth.

How Many Babies Do Hammerhead Sharks Have?

Hammerhead sharks can give birth to 6 – 42 pups once every 1 – 2 years.

This species of shark mate like every other shark through internal fertilization. They do not lay eggs, instead, they give birth to their young ones live through viviparity.

How Many Babies Do Tiger Sharks Have?

The tiger shark can give birth to as much as 80 pups or more.

This shark species just like other sharks also fertilize internally. They give birth to their young ones live through ovoviviparity.

How Many Babies Does Goblin Sharks Have?

The goblin shark species of shark do not give birth to a large number of pups. They are a very rare species and are mostly predators.

They are not common like other sharks. Thus, most information on the reproduction of goblin sharks is mostly speculation by experts.

How Many Babies Do Great White Sharks Have at One Time?

The great white shark can give birth to about 2 – 12 pups at a time.

This species of shark has unique gestation and carries its baby for a year before delivering it.

How Many Babies Do Whale Sharks Have at a Time?

It is surprising to know that the whale shark can give birth to about 300 pups at a time.

This species of shark is among those that lay eggs (oviparous). The whale shark being the largest of all sharks deliver quite a large number of pups.

Their number of pups is the highest among all sharks. This may also be the highest among the animal species.

How Many Babies Does Blue Shark Have?

Blue sharks are a species of viviparous sharks. They give birth to large litters of 25 to over 100 pups.

Blue sharks give birth to their young ones live through viviparity.

How Many Babies Does Lemon Sharks Have?

The lemon shark is also an example of viviparous sharks. They give birth to their young ones alive.

The lemon shark can give birth to up to 18 pups in a litter.

How Many Babies Does the Silvertip Sharks Have?

The silvertip shark can give birth to up to 11 pups in a litter. They are viviparous in nature.

This shark species has a particular period in which they give birth which is usually during summer.

How Many Babies Do Mako Sharks Have?

Mako sharks can give birth to up to 8 – 10 pups. This shark species is one example of the species of sharks that eat their siblings in the womb. That is, the larger pups eat the smaller pups.

How Many Babies Do Catsharks Have?

The Catsharks can lay up to 40 – 50 eggs in a year.

They are among the species of shark that lay eggs. Catsharks give birth to pairs of eggs.


This page explores the number of offspring sharks deliver in each litter. You found out that “how many?” depends on the species of sharks and the type of reproduction. Sharks are amazing creatures with different species making them more interesting.