Physical Description

  • A medium-sized shark, it can be up to 10 feet long.
  • It has seven gills on each side, as its name suggests (most sharks only have 5).
  • Its back and sides are silvery-gray, reddish brown, or olive brown in coloration, with small black spots; undersides are whitish in coloration.
  • It has a wide head with small eyes and a blunt nose.
  • It only has one dorsal (back) fin, while most sharks have two.


  • Found in all oceans with the exception of the North Atlantic and the Mediterranean.
  • Atlantic: from southern Brazil to northern Argentina; Namibia to South Africa.
  • Pacific: Japan to New Zealand and Australia; British Columbia to Chile.
  • May be found off of India as well.


  • Found in the open ocean.
  • Prefers shallow, inshore waters.
  • Use bays and estuaries as nurseries for their pups.


  • Like all cow sharks, sevengills’ embryos develop inside egg casings inside the mother.
  • The mother then gives birth to live young, up to 82-95 pups per litter.
  • Gestation lasts 12 months.
  • Female sevengills move into shallow bays to give birth in the late spring and early summer.
  • The young pups are 15-17 inches when they are born and they stay in the shallow water for the first few years of their life before moving into deeper waters.


  • Other sharks, bat rays, harbor seals, crabs, carrion, octopuses, bony fishes.
  • They will hunt in packs for seals.


  • White sharks, large predatory sharks, even other broadnose sevengill sharks.

Interesting Facts

  • The bottom teeth of a sevengill are comb-shaped, and are used for anchoring into their prey; their upper teeth are sharp and jagged and are used for sawing off pieces of their prey.
  • Sevengill sharks can go days or weeks without eating. They may eat as little as 6% of their body weight per month! 

Sources: Monterey Bay Aquarium; Florida Museum;

Photo: Howard Hill