How Far Can Sharks Smell Blood? The Distance Is Surprising!

It is a question that has been asked since the early days of this great sport. How far can sharks smell blood? Is it possible for them to smell from miles away?

The answer might surprise you, and it will make you think twice before going in the water again! 

This article will answer how how far can sharks smell blood, how far do great white sharks have to be to sense blood from their prey, how much quantity does a shark need to detect an odor underwater and more.

In case you are in a hurry and don’t have enough time to read the complete article. We have an on-point answer for you.

How far can sharks smell blood? Sharks have been shown to be able to smell blood from up to a quarter of a mile away. The majority of sharks, bony fish and invertebrates are capable of smelling chemical compounds in the water that indicate the presence or absence of other living organisms. The shark’s remarkable sense extends beyond just prey – they can “taste” fear too, as well as blood.

How Far Can Sharks Smell Blood? 

Sharks go crazy when they smell blood in the water because it is like smelling food. 

Sharks can smell blood from an incredible distance away, sometimes up to a mile! 

They are attracted to human (or any other animal) blood that has been spilled into the ocean or sea for many reasons. 

It’s possible that they can even detect something as small as just one drop of blood in an Olympic-sized pool. 

The smell of blood in water excites sharks, which causes them to attack if they are hungry or feel threatened by the presence of potential prey. 

It can even cause a shark to go into “blood frenzy,” making it more likely to mistake people for food, especially when there is already blood in the area. 

People sometimes believe that sharks can only detect blood in the water within a range of 100 feet (30 meters). 

However, they are quite capable of smelling and locating it from many miles away. 

Below we will be covering the distance that sharks can smell blood to better understand how far they are able to detect it. Read on!

How Far Can Great White Sharks Smell Blood?

A great white sharks can smell blood up to one mile away. This is how they are able to find their prey or victims even when it’s far away. 

It can also distinguish between different species of animals, as well as the difference between human and animal blood by using its keen sense of smell.

However, how great white sharks use this ability is still a mystery. It does not have a sense of how it’s related to their taste.

How Far Can Sharks Smell Blood In The Water?

In the water, how far can sharks smell blood? Generally, how far away in the water is it possible for a shark to sense when there’s blood around?

The answer might surprise you. 

Research has shown that this type of aquatic predator can actually pick up scents from miles away – and if they are attracted by what they find (a wounded animal, for example) they will race towards the smell.

In fact, it is believed that a shark’s sense of smell is so powerful that it could actually pick up on the scent of blood in the water from long distances away.

Sharks are believed to have a sense that is around five times more powerful than humans when it comes to smelling, and this makes them extremely effective when it comes to tracking down prey or anyone who might be bleeding in the area. 

Also, read this: Do sharks have scales? How they swim fast?

Can Sharks Smell Blood From Miles Away?

Yes, sharks have an incredible sense of smell. 

That is how they are able to detect blood in the ocean so far away from them! 

Sharks can detect blood up to 12 miles away, but only if it has a high enough concentration (a lot). 

If the shark’s olfactory bulbs are removed then its ability to smell reduces dramatically. A study was done that removed the olfactory bulbs of some sharks and other kept them intact. 

The results showed how those with their olfactory bulb damaged could only smell blood from 0-100 cm away, while those who still had theirs were able to detect it up to 12 miles away!

So yes, sharks can smell blood from miles away, even if it is diluted.

Do Sharks Like The Smell Of Human Blood?

No! Sharks do not like the smell of human blood and will even avoid coming into contact with water where humans have been swimming, such as beaches or lagoons. 

This is because sharks use their sense of smell to hunt for prey and they can pick up on the smell of humans from a distance. 

Sharks use their sense of smell for various reasons throughout their lives, including hunting, navigation and mating. 

The smell of human blood brings sharks into contact with other humans in dangerous situations that can lead to an attack. 

As well as using their sense of smell for hunting, sharks also use it when looking for food or potential mates. Check out our article on shark senses to find out more about how sharks use their other senses to hunt and communicate.

Read this next: What do sharks see human as? Do they like them?

Can Sharks Smell Period Blood?

May it be normal blood or period blood, sharks can smell them both. Sharks have a strong sense of smell and they usually follow their nose to find food for themselves.

It is not only normal blood which attracts these predators, but also the scent of period blood in water often brings sharks near swimmers thinking that it’s just part of an animal’s body or meat coming from another sea creature. 

However, it is not a good idea to provoke sharks into attacking you because once they smell blood from your body then most probably they will attack and bite you too.

Period blood has a strong scent which is often detected by sharks and other predators in water very easily. 

So, how far can they smell period blood? The answer is sharks have the ability to sense period blood from miles away, so it is better not to swim in water during your periods at all since you are more likely to be attacked by a shark if they happen to detect your scent of blood which may come out through your vagina or uterus due to menstrual cramps.

Are Sharks Attracted To Human Blood? 

Yes, sharks are attracted to human blood! 

When sharks smell the scent of blood, they will be drawn in. 

Sharks can sense when there has been a drop of blood spilled in water from miles away. 

When your heart pumps just one or two drops of blood into the waters around you it is enough for them to pick up on that and get interested. 

They can even pick up on the scent of blood that has seeped into your clothes.

How Sharks Distinguish Between Fish Blood and Human Blood

Shark can easily distinguish between fish blood and human blood, since they can detect the difference in how your body processes hemoglobin.

Sharks have a very good sense of smell because their noses are located on top of their mouths so water flows freely over them when hunting prey while swimming forward. 

Their nostrils allow them to pick up all sorts of smells or odors, including the smells of dead or injured animals. 

They can also pick up blood from a long distance away and will be able to home in on it very quickly.

When sharks detect a large source of blood they start swimming towards their prey fast, using quick movements with its tail fin as well as undulating body motions, this is when the shark is most likely to attack. 

Sharks have been known, in some cases, to home in on a specific wound from more than 50 feet away and then circle around their prey for hours before attacking it.

This ability has led many scientists to wonder how sharks can detect blood when its clear water doesn’t allow them see far ahead.

Our best guess is that sharks have a special organ in their snouts which detects the pressure waves of blood as they move through water and then send those signals directly to the brain.

Also, read this: How do sharks hear? Do sharks use echolocations to hear underwater?

What Happens When a Shark Smells Blood? 

The next thing sharks does after smelling blood is, they will swim in the direction of blood smell. 

Sharks have a great sense of smell and can detect even a tiny drop of blood from miles away so when you are in an ocean or any body water, it is better to stay out there. 

But if sharks already senses your presence then be aware that they might come closer. 

In most cases sharks do not attack humans as long as they do not feel threatened. 

Sharks will only attack you if it feels that the human has invaded its territory or is a threat to them. 

Blood can make shark go crazy and it will not stop attacking you until its satisfied. 

Why Do Sharks Attack When They Smell Blood? 

Sharks attack after smelling blood because they think that the person or animal is injured and it would be easy to kill. 

If you see a shark approaching, try getting out of water as quickly as possible since sharks can detect your heart beat from far away and also smell blood on your body which makes them more aggressive towards you.

To avoid shark attacks, stay out of the water when you are bleeding or if you have an open wound. 

Always swim with another person in a group and never go swimming alone since it will be difficult for someone to rescue you from sharks which attack quickly. 

How Do Sharks Smell Underwater?

Under the water, sharks can smell with nostrils called ‘Nares’ which are located behind their eyes.

Sharks have an amazing sense of smell that allows them to detect blood in the water from miles away! 

Sharks use this special ability to hunt, or follow prey undetected. However, for a shark to be able to take advantage of its nose’s sense of smell, it needs to be wet.

Do you know: How many bones do sharks have? Do sharks have bones?

Do Sharks Smell Or Taste Blood?

Sharks don’t like the taste of blood but they like the smell of it. 

They can smell blood (even very little) in the water from a long distance away and because of this, they think that there is prey nearby so they swim towards the source to find out what animal spilled all of its blood.

When it comes to smell and tasting blood, sharks can’t really taste blood at all because they don’t have the necessary chemical reactions that we humans and other animals do. 

They also don’t like how it tastes either, which is why you should be safe if a shark tries to bite or swallow something (like your foot) as long as there isn’t any blood around.

Also, read: Do sharks have tongues? How they taste blood? Know here!

How Much Blood Do Sharks Need To Sense?

There is not any specific quantity of how much human blood a shark needs to sense, but it is assumed that any quantity of blood should be enough for them. 

Sharks also might not need the whole body part or organ in order to get this sense, because their receptors can detect small quantities of fluid and flesh from far away distances.

Sharks get notice from how the blood smells, but they also get a sense of how much quantity is spilled.

Sharks typically do not attack until they smell or taste enough amount of blood to know that there is prey in their vicinity and it’s worth attacking for food. 

This means that sharks can actually pinpoint where exactly does this fluid come from by sensing how much quantity of blood is spilled.

Do you know? Sharks have taste buds. This is how they sense taste of blood!

Can Sharks Smell Fear?

Sharks can smell fear. Sharks have a very keen sense of smell and they use their noses to find prey in the water, such as fish or seals. 

When you are scared, your body releases adrenaline which is how we get ready for “fight or flight” situations. 

This causes our blood pressure and heart rate to increase and that makes your sweat. 

Sharks can smell the adrenaline (or how much you are scared) and this is how they know when to attack! 

This method of locating prey may be why sharks sometimes bump into people before biting them – it’s how they determine if we’re worth eating or not.

Read this next: Can sharks see in the dark? How do they navigate?

How Far Away Can Sharks Hear Your Heartbeat?

Sharks can detect heartbeat from more than a mile away. 

They can hear your heartbeat, how fast it is beating and how far the heart is from them. 

Sharks are able to pick up on frequencies outside of our hearing range because they have evolved their own ways of doing so over time via special sensory organs called the lateral line system which assists in helping sharks detect vibrations in water. 

The lateral line system is a network of nerve endings contained in a fluid-filled canal which runs from behind the head to just above their pectoral fin. 

This allows sharks to pick up on heart rate and movement that far exceeds our own abilities.

Sharks with large spiracles (blowholes) may even be able to hear human heartbeats while they are above the surface of the water. 

The lateral line system is how sharks can detect prey that humans cannot see or hear, this helps them to hunt more efficiently and effectively than most predators.

Also, read: Do sharks have ears? Know 5 interesting facts!

Read quora answer: How do sharks smell blood? What is the maximum distance!


Sharks have a highly developed sense of smell, which allows them to detect minute amounts of blood in the water from an extremely long distance. 

In fact, sharks can smell one drop of blood diluted into as much as 100 Olympic-sized swimming pools! 

While it’s difficult to say just how far sharks can smell human or animal blood from underwater, it’s safe to assume that they can smell it from at least a few miles away. 

While sharks are attracted by the scent of blood, there are other factors that contribute to shark attacks as well. 

Sharks go crazy after smelling blood and can attack even if they are just playing around.

Have you ever experienced a shark attack? Tell us in the comments below.

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