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ANGEL SHARK SPOTTING IN GRAN CANARIA: A dive into there secret underwater world.

Unlocking the Mystique of Angel Sharks in Gran Canaria: A Dive into Their Enigmatic World

Its shark session here now in Gran Canaria and we here at GO DIVING Center are exited to see the return of these amazing animal. We are lucky because we have our trusty dive boat ATLANTIS we never really truly stop seeing them year round as we go further and deep than many others on the island, but for most they patiently wait for the colder waters of the winter to bring back the islands most iconic sea beast!. So lets explore together what these amazing animals are and how you could get to see one of these rare beauties in the wild.

two Angel Sharks
Angel Sharks

People flock from around Europe and further in pursuit of spotting Angel Sharks in Gran Canaria. The Canary Islands have served as a sanctuary for these remarkable creatures amid mounting pressures on their existence and habitat. Many arrive at these islands with a fervent desire to witness these majestic creatures during their diving escapades but often lack knowledge about the prime locations and optimal times to spot them throughout the year. Let this article serve as your guide and inspiration to embark on your own diving adventure here in Gran Canaria, nestled at the heart of the enchanting Canary Islands. This destination boasts a vibrant underwater realm bustling with a myriad of captivating marine species. Among these treasures, the mysterious and alluring Angel Sharks reign supreme, captivating the hearts of diving enthusiasts worldwide. For avid divers yearning for an encounter with these mesmerizing creatures, continue reading to uncover the secrets and intricacies that unlock this rare and exhilarating experience.

Introduction to the Angel Shark

The Angel Shark, scientifically known as Squatina squatina, is a fascinating species that belongs to the family Squatinidae. Resembling a mix between a shark and a ray, these unique creatures are flat-bodied, with broad pectoral fins that resemble wings, allowing them to gracefully glide across the ocean floor. Let's delve into the biological aspects and the environment in which these majestic beings thrive. Angel Sharks exhibit distinct physical attributes. Their flattened bodies, ranging from light to dark brown in color, feature unique patterns and colorations, allowing them to blend seamlessly with sandy or muddy seabeds. Their broad, triangular heads house their eyes and gills, with a set of barbels beneath the snout used for sensory purposes. Their specialised morphology enables them to bury themselves partially in the substrate, camouflaging from prey while awaiting ambush opportunities. The average size of an Angel Shark ranges from about four to five feet in length, with some species growing up to six feet. As nocturnal ambush predators, Angel Sharks rely on stealth and patience. Their diet consists of fish, crustaceans, and mollusks, which they capture by patiently waiting for the opportune moment to strike.

In terms of reproduction, females give birth to fully developed pups after a gestation period of nine to twelve months. This ovoviviparous method ensures that n

Canary islands Angel Shark hiding in sand
This is often how we first spot an Angel Shark while its hiding in the sand.

ewborn Angel Sharks are equipped to fend for themselves from the start.

These incredible creatures, like the rest of the marine world face threats due to overfishing, bycatch, habitat degradation, and pollution. Many species of Angel Sharks are classified as critically endangered or endangered by the IUCN, emphasising the urgency of conservation efforts to safeguard their future existence. We ll need to support the work of action groups and charities that help these creatures thrive and live on into the future, charities like the Canary Islands Angel Shark Project.


1- The Seasonal visitor: Best Time to Spot Angel Sharks

While Gran Canaria's waters offer year-round diving opportunities, the winter months unveil a unique window to witness Angel Sharks in their glory. As the water cools slightly, these mysterious creatures migrate from deeper waters to the shallows, presenting an optimal chance to catch a glimpse of their graceful presence.

2- The Elusive Nature of Angel Sharks

Spotting an Angel Shark requires more than just luck. Their knack for camouflage and tendency to inhabit deeper reefs and lesser-explored areas demand a keen eye and expert guidance. Partnering with a knowledgeable dive guide becomes indispensable in enhancing your prospects of encountering these elusive creatures.

3- Navigating the Depths: Finding the Best Dive Operator

Angel Sharks have a penchant for secluded and undisturbed locations. This makes choosing the right dive boat and operator crucial in exploring these hidden realms. Opting for experienced operators familiar with the secret spots and deeper reefs amplifies your chances of an unforgettable encounter.

4- Small Group Dives: Maximising Your Encounter

Creating an optimal setting for an Angel Shark encounter involves respecting their space. Small group dives not only increase your likelihood of spotting these creatures but also ensure a respectful interaction. Angel Sharks prefer tranquility and can be spooked by larger groups or intrusive behavior.

5- Mastering the Dive Skills: A Key to Cherishing the Moment

The leisurely nature of Angel Sharks means that patience and refined dive skills are paramount. Mastering buoyancy and the art of neutrally hovering in the water enables you to observe these creatures without causing disturbance, allowing for a longer and more fulfilling experience. Plus, honing these skills helps in capturing stunning photographs to immortalise this rare encounter.

6- Where to look for them

Understanding the habitat and behavior of Angel Sharks is crucial for maximizing your chances of encountering these captivating creatures during a dive in Gran Canaria. These sharks predominantly inhabit the Eastern Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, favouring temperate and subtropical waters. They prefer sandy or muddy bottoms, residing in depths ranging from shallow coastal areas to depths of about 500 meters.

Look for dive locations with soft substrate where Angel Sharks are known to frequent. Unfortunately, their populations have declined due to overfishing and habitat destruction, making them relatively rare in certain regions. Exploring areas with soft substrate may increase your likelihood of spotting these elusive sharks.

Angel Sharks are nocturnal ambush predators that primarily feed on fish, crustaceans, and mollusks. Their hunting technique involves patiently waiting for prey to pass by, then swiftly capturing it with a sudden burst of speed. Dusk or night dives might offer better chances of encountering them while they are actively hunting, as their flattened bodies allow them to remain hidden on the ocean floor until they strike.

For diving enthusiasts seeking an extraordinary adventure, Gran Canaria offers a chance to witness the ethereal presence of Angel Sharks. Embracing the winter season, collaborating with adept dive operators, fine-tuning dive skills, and approaching these creatures with respect are the key elements to unlock this rare and enchanting experience. Prepare for an unforgettable journey into the depths of the Canary Islands and dive into the mystical world of Angel Sharks.

Scott Finch

Dive instructor and Co owner GO DIVING Center Gran Canaria

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