Is It True That Sharks Never Get Sick?

Sharks are often seen as strong and powerful predators that never get sick. But, is this really true?

Sharks Can Get Sick

The short answer? No, it’s not true. Even though sharks are known for being tough, they can still get sick. They can catch viruses, bacteria, parasites, and even cancer.

Examples of Shark Diseases

For example, papillomatosis is a virus that can cause harmless tumors to grow on a shark’s skin and fins. However, in severe cases, it can lead to death. Vibriosisis is a bacterial infection that can damage a shark’s skin and insides.

Parasites and Other Health Issues for Sharks

Sharks can also get parasites like tapeworms and roundworms, which can cause weight loss, poor growth, and even death in some types of sharks. Some sharks can also carry bacteria that can make humans sick if they eat the shark.

In addition to these health issues, sharks can also develop cancer. Although cancer is less common in sharks than in other animals, it can still happen.

Shark Adaptations and Resilience to Sickness

Despite all these health concerns, sharks have some special abilities that help them fight off sickness. They have a strong immune system that can fight infections better than most other fish. Their skin is also strong and can protect them from injuries and infections.

Furthermore, some types of sharks can heal quickly from injuries. Some compounds found in their skin can help the healing process and prevent infection. However, even with these abilities, sharks are not immune to sickness.


In conclusion, the idea that sharks never get sick is a myth. They can get sick just like any other animal. However, their unique abilities and strong immune system make them more resilient to sickness than other animals. It’s important to treat sharks with care and respect and take steps to protect them and their environment.