Known as the second most dangerous shark in our oceans, the Tiger Shark! This beautiful shark species can be found inhabiting both tropical and subtropical waters worldwide and is aptly named for the tiger-like patterning along its body. There are so many amazing facts about sharks that will help you to understand these magnificent creatures.
We want to teach you all about this shark, and that’s why we have put together these 50 facts about tiger sharks. Read on to find out how old tiger sharks can live to, all about their eating habits and just why they are nicknamed “the garbage can of the sea!”
Facts about Tiger Sharks
1. Tiger sharks can be found all over the world, in both deep and shallow waters.
2. This omnivorous shark is common worldwide in tropical and warm-temperate coastal waters.
3. This species of shark belongs to the largest order of sharks, which also includes, blue sharks, hammerhead sharks, and bull sharks.
4. The tiger shark is not to be confused with the sand tiger shark, which is a smaller cousin to the great white shark and is known to be the only shark to come up to the surface to gulp air.
5. The scientific name of the tiger shark is Galeocerdo cuvier. Galeocerdo comes from the Greek words galeos, for “shark”.
6. The tiger shark is one of the largest sharks in the ocean.
7. On average, a tiger shark can grow between 10 – 16 feet (3 – 4.9 meters) in length.
8. Tiger sharks usually weigh around 800 – 1500 pounds, about as heavy as a horse.
9. Tiger sharks are known to live up to 50 years old.
10. There have been reports of tiger sharks to have grown over 20 feet (6.1 meters) long.
11. The largest tiger shark ever confirmed was 18 feet (5.5 meters) long and weighed over 3000 pounds.
12. When tiger shark pups are born, they measure little over 1 foot in length.
13. Just like most shark species, female tiger sharks grow much bigger than the males.
14. Tiger sharks get their name from the dark stripes on the upper side of their body when they are born. These stripes are seen clearly on tiger sharks that are less than 5 feet long, the stripes fade as the shark ages.
15. Tiger sharks are excellent hunters and one of the top predators in the ocean.
16. Tiger sharks prey on fish (including other sharks), jellyfish, squid, sea turtles, crabs, clams, dolphins, seals, dugongs, seabirds (like albatrosses), crocodiles and sea snakes. They can even go after sick whales.
17. Tiger sharks love to eat! And they don’t just eat the animals listed above. Off of the coast of Hawaii, all sorts of animals have been found inside the stomachs of tiger sharks. These include rats, cats, dogs, sheep, goats and even horses!!
18. Oddly enough that’s not all, tiger sharks have been nicknamed “the garbage can of the sea” due to other strange items found inside a tiger shark’s stomach. Like plastic bottles, beer bottles, old tires, nails, oil cans, baseballs, clothing, license plates and even explosives – Now that’s an appetite!
19. Tiger sharks find their prey by using their sharp eyesight and even more keen sense of smell, as well as their sixth sense.
20. Sharks have six senses, these include; sight, touch, smell, taste, hearing, and electroreception.
21. This sixth sense are special pores located beneath the skin around the shark’s snout. These pores are filled with a jelly-like substance which is able to detect electric fields.
22. Each living being gives off an electric field, so by heading towards the direction of the field, the tiger shark is almost certain to find prey.
23. Once they have spotted their next meal, tiger sharks move very slowly just like tigers, silently stalking their prey.
24. A tiger sharks slow movement and camouflage help prevent it from being seen until the very last moment when attacking its prey.
25. Tiger sharks are so quick, once it secures is prey it will finish it within minutes.
26. A tiger sharks tooth is uniquely shaped like the sail of a boat, they are very large and notched with saw-like edges.
27. A tiger shark’s teeth are so strong they can cut through the shell of a sea turtle or a clam.
28. If one of their teeth break, they simply grow a new one the next day.
29. The tiger shark is the only species of shark that is ovoviviparous. That’s a combination of oviparous (laying eggs) and viviparous (giving birth to live young).
30. Female tiger sharks develop eggs inside of their bodies but they do not lay them.
31. The egg stays inside the female tiger sharks body, where it is nourished by the yolk of the egg, it then hatches and continues to develop.
32. It can take as long as 16 months for the baby tiger shark to be born.
33. When fully developed, a tiger shark can have as many as eighty pups in a litter.
34. Due to the long gestation period and troublesome mating process, tiger sharks have pups only once every three years.
35. During the mating process, the female tiger shark is badly bitten by the male.
36. Once a tiger shark is born, they are not given any aftercare and are forced to find their own food. Often enough, the pups stick together in order to stay safe.
37. Due to tiger sharks being abandoned as pups, many of them end up being preyed on by larger sharks.
38. Although tiger sharks are a top predator, they are not safe from predation. Many tiger sharks can still be eaten by great white sharks, other sharks, and killer whales.
39. Next to the great white shark, the tiger shark is responsible for the most shark attacks on humans.
40. The great white shark has over 300 recorded unprovoked attacks since the late 1500s and the tiger shark 111 unprovoked attached, out of which 31 were fatal.
41. In one sense the tiger shark is considered more dangerous than the great white shark, this is because The tiger shark usually takes a bite and then another, which results in more than one-third of its attacks being fatal, whereas the great white shark will take one bite and then swim away.
42. Less than one-fourth of a tiger sharks attacks are fatal.
43. There are known to be 3 – 4 tiger shark attacks in Hawaii alone every year.
44. Because of its tendency to attack humans, tiger sharks are hunted as part of shark control systems.
45. Tiger sharks are also widely hunted for sport and commercial use for their fins, skin, and liver which contain a rich source of Vitamin A.
46. Many tiger sharks are accidentally caught by fishing boats trying to catch swordfish, tuna, and squid.
47. There is evidence of declines for several tiger shark populations where they have been heavily fished but in general tiger sharks do not face a high risk of extinction.
48. Some of the Native Hawaiians consider the tiger shark a sacred spirit of one of their ancestors, reincarnations of family members who passed away a long time ago.
49. It is believed that the eyes of a tiger shark have magical powers and that by eating a tiger sharks eye one would be able to see better and even see into the future.
50. According to an ancient legend, the mother of the great King Kamehameha asked for tiger shark eyeballs during her pregnancy in the hopes that her son would become a great leader.
Conservation Status of the Tiger Shark
The tiger shark is a relatively fast-growing and fecund species of shark. The tiger shark continues to thrive due to its large, global population and high reproductive rates. Although it is caught regularly in target and non-target fisheries it is currently classified only as a near threatened species on the IUCN Red list.
In spite of these threats, tiger sharks, in general, do not currently face a high risk of extinction. However, if demand continues, especially for their fins, this may result in further declines in the future.
Loving these great shark-related posts from Ocean Scuba Dive? You might also like to read these;
- Facts about Sharks
- Facts about Great White Sharks
- Facts about Whale Sharks
- 15 Most Endangered Sharks in the World
- International Whale Shark Day
- Save our Sharks from Extinction
- Adopt a Whale Shark
- Adopt a Great White Shark
- Adopt a Basking Shark