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Tiger Shark

Threat Level:  High




    Scientific Name.... Galeocerdo Cuvier
    Family Name
    ...... Carcharhinidae


  • General Information: The tiger shark is the second largest of the three most dangerous sharks in the sea. It was named for the way it looks like a big cat, the adult tiger shark has stripes on its back. The tiger shark and the big cat's attitudes are very much alike as a swift and powerful killer. Its Latin name Galeocerdo, means " cunning, " Its wide mouth, broad nose, barrel chest, and the slenderness at the base of its tail is distinctive.


  • Size: Tiger sharks average 10 feet long, with some growing as long as 20 feet.


  • Teeth and Jaws: Tiger Sharks have triangular shaped teeth, which are serrated (saw-edged) and extremely sharp. These teeth are located in several rows inside the bull sharks jaw. The first two rows of teeth are used in obtaining prey, while the other rows are kept in reserve to rotate in as needed to replace lost or broken teeth.


  • Color: This shark has tiger like markings (hence the name) against a dark grey back and an off-white underbelly. Pups are not born striped, but spotted instead. these spots then fade into stripes as the young sharks mature.


  • Feeding Habits: A tiger shark will eat just about anything that it can catch alive, and it is considered to be one of the most fiercest predators in the sea of all sharks. Such as fish, turtles, crabs, clams sharks smaller in size, mammals and reptiles, it also eats birds that rest on the surface of the ocean such as pelicans and migratory birds. Tiger sharks have also been called the swimming trash cans, these are just some of the things that have been found in a tiger shark's stomachs. Tin cans, shoes, bottles, bolts, license plates, alarm clocks and straw hats.


  • Senses: Like all sharks the tiger shark depend on their senses to survive and find food. Tiger sharks have good eyesight, aided by a special gill slit ( a spiracle ) right behind the eye, which provides oxygen flow directly to the eyes and brain. It has electroreceptors sensitive to electric currents in the water, and a very good sense of smell. Tiger sharks have a special protective eyelid called the third eyelid or nictitating membrane that can close over the eye protecting it from fighting prey.


  • Social Behaviour: Tiger sharks are solitary except during mating. Adult tiger sharks are active at night and enter shallow reefs and lagoons after dusk to feed. Usually during the day they occupy deeper water beyond the reef edge to depths of about 500 feet.


  • Habitat | Migration | Distribution: Tiger sharks are found in tropical waters worldwide, and in some temperate seas as well. Is known to tolerate a broad range of different habitats. They can be found from the surface down to as far as 1,200 feet below, and inhabit both shoreline and open waters, ranging as far as 500 miles.


  • Life Span: The lifespan of the Tiger Shark is uncertain, but approximately 30-40 years


  • Reproduction: Tiger sharks reproduce viviparously, which means that like mammals, they give birth to live young that have been nourished by a placenta. The male tiger shark Litters can be made up of anywhere from 10 to 82 pups, and gestation is about 9 months long. At birth, pups are 20-30 inches long and are completely independent. The spotted pups are ready to swim and feed.


  • Swimming: Tiger sharks have an average speed of 2.4mph. they can swim in fast bursts, but the speed can only be maintained for a few seconds.


  • Tiger Shark Attacks: The tiger shark is greatly feared by humans and does occasionally attack people, but people are not sought out by sharks.


  • Attacking Prey: Generally tiger sharks are sluggish but can move quickly when they spot dinner. A tiger shark circles its prey for a long time before attacking. It watches its prey and then bump it with its snout or fin and then it attacks very quickly. The tiger sharks upper jaws are not attached to the skull so when the shark is ready to bite, it can push its jaw forward to grab the food. The shark stabs its prey with its lower teeth, then uses the teeth in both jaws to saw off slabs of meat. It swings its body side to side for more slicing.


  • Population Report: Not threatened.


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