Are There Sharks in the Hudson River?
The world is filled with water holes, lakes, streams, rivers, and oceans all over the planet. And of course, when we take our journeys to these places we want to know what we are getting ourselves into. The Hudson River is one of the most popular rivers in New York. So let’s take a look to see if there are any sharks there.
But, before we do that, let’s look a little more at some shark facts, how many there are in the world, and then how many are in New York. We will end on if there are any sharks in the Hudson River.
Sharks (Selachimorpha) Facts
According to the International Fund for Animal Welfare, there are over 500 species of sharks that are in our oceans today. Sharks can be found in the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Arctic, and Southern oceans.
Although the size of a shark largely depends on their species, typical sharks can weigh anywhere from 1,500-4,000 pounds respectively. They can also reach anywhere from 5.8-7 feet in length.
However, there are exceptions, like the whale shark (Rhincodon typus), which is the largest shark in the world. The whale shark can weigh up to 20 tons (40,000 pounds) and can grow longer than 40 feet.
Sharks are carnivore eaters, which means that they eat meat. Interestingly enough, most classifications of animals who are labeled as carnivores are truly omnivore eaters. Meaning they would eat both meat and plant matter.
As carnivores sharks will hunt and prey on animals such as seal lions, seals, crustaceans, marine mammals, and other kinds of sharks. Sharks will feed on these delicacies once every few days. They are able to eat anywhere from 0.5-3% of their complete body weight, according to American Oceans. So, to put this in comparison, a shark that weighs 1,500 pounds can eat up to 45 pounds, and a shark that weighs 4,000 pounds would be able to eat up to 120 pounds of meat per meal. Now that we know a little bit more about sharks, let’s see how many can be found in New York.
How Many Sharks Are There in New York?
New York is an extremely popular state in the United States. It held the Twin Towers, which was destroyed by terrorism in 2001, and it holds the ever-famous Statue of Liberty.
New York is approximately 302.6 square miles. While this might sound like a lot, if we put it into comparison with the state with the largest number of square miles, that would be Alaska with 586,000 square miles, then this state doesn’t seem quite as big in terms of area.
According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, “New York has a shoreline on the North Atlantic Ocean. [This ocean] connects to tidal and freshwater rivers and streams that drain through watersheds into the ocean.”
With over 500 species of shark in the world, finding the estimates of how many are in the entire world is a tad bit difficult. The International Fund for Animal Welfare estimates that more than 273 million sharks are killed each year. So, the number must be far greater than that.
The New York Environmental Conservation estimates there to be 13 species of sharks that have been regularly spotted around New York. Below is a summary of those shark species found in New York with their scientific names.
|Common Name||Scientific Name|
|Atlantic Blacktip||Carcharhinus limbatus|
|Basking shark||Cetorhinus maximus|
|Blue shark||Prionace glauca|
|Common thresher||Alopias vulpinus|
|Dusky shark||Carcharhinus obscurus|
|Sandbar shark||Carcharhinus plumbeus|
|Shortfin mako||Isurus oxyrinchus|
|Smooth dogfish||Mustelus canis|
|Smooth hammerhead||Sphyrna zygaena|
|Spinner shark||Carcharhinus brevipinna|
|Spiny dogfish||Squalus acanthias|
|Great white shark||Carcharodon carcharias|
Are There Sharks in New York’s Hudson River?
The Hudson River is approximately 315 miles long. This river will end in New York City near the Atlantic Ocean. A common question about the Hudson River is whether or not it is saltwater or freshwater. And the answer is actually really unique. It is both!
According to the Center for the Urban River “Salt water enters the Hudson River during high tide, when water from the Atlantic Ocean is flooding the river. At the same time, there is a constant flow of fresh water flowing from the north to the south.”
Most of the research on the Hudson River shows that there are no sharks. Most of this can probably be attributed to the majority of sharks surviving in saltwater. And with the Hudson River being flooded with freshwater as well, this could be one of the reasons.
However, when diving a bit deeper, there have been random sightings of sharks in the Hudson River. Here are some below incidents.
- 1864, a boy was reportedly attacked by a shark in the Hudson River and had a severe thigh bite.
- 1933, a shark was reported to be sighted in the Hudson River off 42nd Street, according to the New York Times.
- 2020, during the pandemic James Gabriel spotted a shark in the Hudson River he at first thought was a sturgeon shark (Acipenseridae). However, upon further observation, it was assumed to be more like a bull shark (Carcharhinus leucas).
While these incidents are very far and few between, there are still some reports as we can see. However, this wouldn’t be enough to substantiate concrete proof that sharks are living and thriving in the Hudson.