Are there sharks in Venice Italy Canals (Updated with 1954, 1961 and 2020 Articles)

I will not take a lot of time to answer this question.

Yes, sharks have been found in Venice Italy. We all know that the canals in Venice are connected with the Adriatic Sea which explains why there could be species of sharks in the canals. 

Before claiming this is fake news, we suggest reading the 2 provoked attacks with full name of the personnel and event. It happened at Chioggia in the past 1954 and 1961, indicating there are sharks in South Venice.

Thanks to contributor Pierre Bureau, another recent shark attack news is in September 2020 reported in both Gazzettino and Sky Italy. A 63-year old French-Italian woman claimed to be bitten by a small shark (1 m-long) while swimming along the Murazzi beach at the Lido. Without further information, experts suspected it to be a dogfish shark or blue shark. 


You are likely to encounter several species of sharks in the canals which include the Tiger Shark, Maco Shark, hammer-head Shark, great white Shark, and the bull sharks. 

In the rivers in Venice, you might come face to face with the bull sharks. They are usually found in the rivers, canals, and the ocean. The reason behind this is the fact that bull sharks are capable of living almost anywhere. You can find them in most oceans, seas, and rivers simply because they can live in both fresh and saltwater. 

Additionally, their kidneys are adapted to conserving mineral salts in the blood. In the same places, you can easily spot sharks moving from one canal to the other or just enjoying their time in the waters of Venice. (updated in October 2021 to remove leopard which is not found in Italy but rather in North America)

It’s actually forbidden to swim in the canals of Venice because it puts you in danger of having an encounter with the sharks. However, there are some people who still choose to swim in the Lido beach which they consider safe and beautiful. Keep in mind, it’s discouraged to swim close to the houses since the canals are like the streets of Venice and this might even disturb the peace of others. Some canals in the area are also used as the sewer which means you could be risking your life swimming in such waters. 

Shark Graffiti

With time, the authorities have really loosened the laws that existed on whether someone should or shouldn’t swim in the canals. However, these changes only lasted during the period of swimming competitions and just for the contestants. 

Additionally, you may never find a law that forbids swimming in Venice but most people never practice it. The fact is that some of the laws that forbid swimming in Venice canals are very old and so there’s no way for you to find written laws about the same. Some of the updated laws explain that you can be fined up to 500 euros in case you are found swimming, diving or even tripping in the Venice canals.

How deep are the canals in Venice? 

Even if you dare to swim in the canal, you probably wonder how deep the Venice canals go? We researched in another post on Venice canals depth, and it has an average depth of five meters (16.5 ft) with a maximum depth of 50m (164ft).

The bad news is that most people including kids and teens throw junks in the waters and their local authorities don’t have resources to clean this. This is what makes the canals very dirty but fortunately, the tides bring all of these to the seas regularly. 

The depth of these canals depends on the one we are talking about. There is a time of the year when these canals are very deep. As a matter of fact, at low tides, many canals in Venice are as deep as eight-foot.

Previously, there was a dredging program that seemed to have died about 10 years ago. More money has been pumped into the MOSE which is the flooding barrier project. However, a few years ago, the Italian Government stopped providing funds which translated to dirty and mismanaged canals. 

Algae issue

Venice is actually on the list of the cities in the world that have algae issues. It is essentially marked as the first algae-powered city in the whole world. This shows that algae are not a problem. They already have plans on the table to produce about half of its energy from algae. 

If you are planning on visiting Venice soon, I can assure you we will see a couple of things that will portray the beauty of this city. In most areas, the water is green. The water can as well sink to high heavens depending on the time of the year that you are visiting. 

Previously, leaders saw issues and problems with the algae. However, today, they have noticed an opportunity that they can actually utilize. The authorities have closely partnered with the Renewable energy companies and are planning to build a $270 million facility to utilize algae for energy. 

So should you be worried about sharks in Venice? 

Definitely, you should be worried but if you are talking about small canals that are as shallow as 3 feet, sharks shouldn’t bother you. As a matter of fact, there are no records of sharks in the shallow canals. No one ever thinks that sharks can live on such shallow waters. The water is also very dirty and hence the sharks wouldn’t consider living in waters that are deemed as sewer channels. 

The calm, clean and beautiful waters of the Lagoon may serve as hosts of some species of sharks. However, there are some exceptions. Sharks will only live in the deep blue waters of the Lagoon. 

The only issue is that the waters in the three entrances to the Lagoon have been excavated over the last few years to accommodate bigger ships. What this means is that the waters in the main entrances to the Lagoon is as deep as 50 meters. Therefore, it is possible to spot some sharks in the area. Though, the sharks have never ventured so deep. The main reason is that the main species that are found here are the Adriatic sharks which are known for their ability to survive in shallow waters. They also like shallow and open waters of the Lagoon. 


To sum all we have said up, we have to state people have never and may never sight any sharks in the internal canals of the city. However, people have sighted sharks from time to time in the three entrance points to the Lagoon. 

Efforts have been made to get the information as accurate and updated as possible. If you found any incorrect information with credible source, please send it via the contact us form
Sky Hoon
Italy Lover. He travel to Europe a few times and loved Italy for its unique language and culture. He loved the idea of Italian food focusing on original taste of the ingredient.
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