We’ve whittled a huge collection of shark tattoos down to the very best 50.
Whether we’re watching sharks slowly swim around on Nat Geo WILD, or imagining them lurking at the bottom of our suburban swimming pools, the ocean’s oldest predators are as fearsome as they are misunderstood.
Thanks to Hollywood, and a mouth full of menacing teeth, sharks usually get a bad rap—which is completely understandable. After all, as much as we love sharks, it’s tough not to imagine one appearing from the darkness to slowly naw off an appendage whenever you’re in a body of water deeper than a bathtub. But in reality, sharks are more likely to swim away from humans than to attack them. However, that’s not what makes sharks so fascinating. People are drawn to the shark for its killer and awesome qualities. Natures perfect killer.
When it comes to ink, shark tattoos are as popular as you would expect. The ocean’s most famous and feared fish has been tatted in just about every way imaginable. From hyperrealistic underwater murals to black and grey ink dotwork designs, this unique collection of shark tattoos has a little something for everyone.
What type of shark should I get?
While there are over 400 different species of sharks, only a handful of species are well known. Here are a few of the most popular species of sharks commonly represented in tattoo designs.
The Great White: The powerful grey and white body of the Great White Shark is what usually comes to mind when you think of a shark. Steven Spielberg’s Jaws as well as just about every other man-eating shark that’s ever graced the silver screen is modeled after the great white. The great white is famous for its imposing size and razor sharp teeth.
The Hammerhead: The hammerhead shark is probably the most interesting and alien-like shark in existence. The hammerhead gets its name from the hammer-shaped head that houses eyes on each tip.
The Whale Shark: A gentle giant known for its mesmerizing pattern of white spots that cover the shark from head to toe, the whale shark is the largest of all sharks and can reach lengths of over 40ft. Instead of a mouth full of large serrated teeth for ripping off large chunks of flesh, whale sharks possess a series of filter pads for gently gathering krill in the same way that whales do.
This gaping mouth.
Definitely something you don’t wanna see in person, this mouth full of serrated teeth looking for a meal is one of the most ominous designs on the list. Even the poster for the 1975 blockbuster Jaws doesn’t quite compare to the terrifying nature of this piece. (Photo: Jeisson Odink)
This space shark.
If you’re looking for something fun and creative, then this space-themed shark with blocked coloring might be right up your alley. This “surreal space style” resembles both a star filled sky and the alien world that lies deep beneath the ocean’s surface. (Photo: Blayne Bius)
This dotwork shark tattoo.
If there’s a more sinister looking shark swimming around, we’ve yet to see it. The first thing you notice about this design is the astonishing amount of detail and texture the artist was able to achieve. Well, the white eyes are pretty attention-grabbing as well. Dead, all white eyes could only belong to a creature that prowls the deepest depths the ocean has to offer…which make this shark even more terrifying. (Photo: Parvick)
This vanquished shark.
Surprisingly enough, this isn’t the only shark with a sword through it on our list. Whether it’s coincidence or some sort of trend we’re not sure, but it’s safe to that at least a few sharks have been killed with swords throughout history! (Photo: Anzo Choi)
This dotwork shark tattoo.
The perfect lines give this shark tattoo an unbelievably authentic appearance. Excellent execution and a perfect location make this dotwork shark tattoo as original as it gets. (Photo: Black Line Studio)
This watercolor shoulder piece.
This awesome watercolor design is just the beginning of what would eventually become a full sleeve. The primary colors inked in the watercolor style perfectly compliment the scored and sketch style lines of the shark. We spent about ten minutes trying to decipher this elegant script but eventually gave up. (Photo: Scady Alyona)
This realistic shark tattoo.
Here we have a reef fish, a few stingrays, and a massive, eat-your-whole-family-at-once great white shark that would send Chuck Norris on a frantic search for his mother. Fun fact: humans kill 10 million sharks for every 1 person that’s killed by a shark each year. (Photo: Jesse Rix)
This neo traditional shark design.
If Blackbeard were to get a tattoo today, this would probably be it. Neo traditional tats will never go out of style, especially when they’re done up like this. The gradient sheen on the banners really brings the design together. (Photo: Cedric Weber)
This watercolor whale shark.
On a more playful note, this whale shark design is perfect for those looking for something a little less frightening. The whale shark is perhaps more whale than shark. It’s one of only three filter feeding sharks that rely on tiny krill instead of fish and other mammals. (Photo: Sol Tattoo)