Moving though the oceans in loose groups or solitary (2), the Galapagos shark feeds on fishes, squid and octopus dwelling on or near the ocean floor (5). Occasionally, a large Galapagos shark may prey on other sharks (5), and around its namesake islands it has been observed taking sea lions and marine iguanas (2). It is an inquisitive fish and is known to approach swimmers and investigate other disturbances in the water, such as boats and divers (2). It can be an aggressive animal and, like some other shark species, performs a display prior to attacking its target. This involves arching the back, raising the head, and lowering the pectoral fins as it swims with a noticeable twisting motion (2).
The Galapagos shark gives birth to live young (5), with between 6 and 16 pups born in each litter (6). The shark pups, which measure around 70 to 80 centimetres at birth (6), initially remain in shallow areas where they are a little more protected from predators, which can even include other Galapagos sharks (5). The young will move into deeper waters as they grow (5), reaching maturity at lengths between 1.7 and 2.3 metres (2). This shark first reproduces at around ten years of age, and is known to live to approximately 24 years old (5).