The bull sharks of the Riviera Maya
Every year in winter, when the water gets colder (“cold: 26℃/78℉”), bull sharks visit the Riviera Maya. Mostly female sharks come near the coast between December and March to give birth to their offspring at Playa del Carmen. It is an unforgettable feeling when suddenly a shark appears next to you in the water. Normally you can see between 2 and 10 bull sharks on a dive in Playa del Carmen. It is a very special experience to observe these animals under water. Goose bumps guaranteed!
Interesting facts about bull sharks in Playa del Carmen
Sting ray with bull shark Playa del Carmen
The bull shark is not a very big shark. However, his body is “bully”, hence the name bull shark. With a weight of up to 210 kg, it reaches a total length of about 3 meters. The bull shark tends to be compressed and is very bulky. Their short and wide muzzle is reminiscent of a bull. The bull shark is very easy to distinguish from other sharks. Its back fin is almost rectangular.
Bull sharks live in warmer coastal areas. They especially prefer the proximity of river estuaries. The bull shark often ventures far into the fresh water of the rivers and is sometimes even found in lakes. However, the lakes must be connected by a river to seawater.
The bull sharks of the Riviera Maya are predominantly female. In the winter months is the end of her pregnancy. Then they come to shallow waters to give birth to their young. Close to the shore they are better protected from the dangers of the ocean. Young sharks are eaten by their counterparts. After the birth, the boys are about 70 cm and at the age of 10 years, they are fully grown. Bull sharks are among the live-bearing fish. This means they carry the juvenile fish in their bodies. A bull shark pregnancy lasts between 10 and 11 months. For the birth, expectant mothers seek protection in near-shore regions or in rivers or lakes. There they give birth to 1-13 pups. Bull sharks reach their sexual maturity quite late. The male bull shark is sexually mature at 14-15 years; a little earlier than the female at around 18 years.
Bull sharks feed opportunistically. This means they are not fussy about their diet and eat what they can find in their habitat. These include bony fish, turtles, sea urchins, rays, crabs and possibly even other sharks.
Usually we see more than one bull shark in a bull shark dive
Bullshark dive Playa del Carmen
If you want to dive in Playa del Carmen with bull sharks, you will find many offers. Normally the dives take place in the morning since then the likelihood of seeing the bull sharks is at its best. Before the dive there is a detailed briefing with safety precautions and interesting facts about bull sharks.
Most bull shark dives in Playa del Carmen drive to the “Bull Shark Point”, about 10 minutes from the beach. The dive site itself is a sandy area.
If you have to choose between the various diving schools, go for one that does not feed the bull sharks. Thus, these diving schools do not interfere with natural food chains. Nevertheless, the probability of finding bull sharks is 95%.
The bull shark dive takes place between 20 – 25 meters (65 – 80 feet). At this depth, the participants kneel in the sand and form a semicircle. Usually, the first bull shark appears after a short time. Quite often, there are several bull sharks to see. They will do their rounds peacefully, while the divers will stay in their seats and not move. Do not worry, divers do not fit into their prey scheme. Diving accidents with sharks are extremely rare. Other marine creatures such as stingrays can also be seen during the bull shark dive in Playa del Carmen.