Scientific Name: Galeocerdo cuvier
Tiger Shark Description
You have likely already heard that the Tiger Shark is one of the most aggressive and feared sharks out there. There is more to them though so perhaps reading this will give you a new appreciation for them. Their trademark is the dark stripes that are found on them. The patterns will vary for each one just like they do on a tiger. However, as a Tiger Shark ages these stripes are going to completely disappear.
They are among the largest of all sharks with a weight of 1,400 pounds. They can also be close to 14 feet in length for the males. The females are a bit lighter at about 1,200 pounds and they only extend about 10 feet. Still, both sexes are very large and very powerful creatures that seem to dominate the areas where they reside.
Tiger Shark Information
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Tiger Shark Anatomy
You will also notice another feature of the Tiger Shark – a very blunt nose that differs from what you will find on other species. They also have two dorsal fins. You will notice that one is quite a bit larger than the other one as well. They are very fast and powerful swimmers as well. They are able to move to get what they want or out of the way if necessary.
Behind the eyes is their slit gills which is how they are able to get the air they need to survive. They have extremely sharp teeth, rows and rows of them that will rotate around to fill in empty spots over the course of a shark’s life. They have a jaw that contains a palate and that is why they lock their jaws over their prey. This is also why most people that are bitten by one end up dying.
Tiger Sharks rely heavily upon their senses for survival. They have excellent sight as well as excellent smell. They are able to pick up on the electricity that people or other living things give off in the water too. This helps them to hunt with ease.
Tiger Shark Evolution
The theory of evolution for the Tiger Shark is one that has many variations. We do know that sharks in general have been around for more than 350 million years. However, we don’t know for sure what occurred with this specific species of shark. Through the studies of fossils and shark teeth though we will hopefully one day have the answers that many people are interested in.
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Tiger Shark Behavior
Many experts have been doing all they can to learn about the behaviors of this type of shark. Since they are so dangerous though that hasn’t been easy to do. They are also able to stay out of the general vicinity of where humans can see them. Through their research though they have learned they aren’t out there hunting for humans as many people believe. Instead they are known to consume anything they can find and unfortunately that also includes people that are in their territory.
Tiger Sharks spend most of their time more than 3,000 feet below the water’s surface. This fact is one more reason why they aren’t able to successfully learn all the details about the behaviors of Tiger Sharks. They will come to the surface though to be able to look for food which is when people have spotted them.
Tiger sharks generally live an isolated life, and they can be up to 50 years of age with the right conditions in place. They are very protective of their own areas so fighting for territory is very common. These types of sharks don’t do well in captivity at all so very few of them are placed in such an environment for observation purposes.
Tiger Shark Habitat
May people believe that Tiger Sharks only live in the saltwater areas. However, they have been identified in areas of fresh water as well. What they do need though is a tropical or subtropical area where they can survive. They also need an adequate food supply. The fact that these sharks continue to branch out indicates that they are having a hard time in some areas finding enough food.
The fact that humans though like to enjoy these same areas as the Tiger Shark means you do need to be very careful. Being aware of where they reside can help you to decide what you want to do. While it is very unlikely you will be attacked by a shark, you need to know that it can occur.
Tiger Shark vs. Turtles
Tiger Shark Feeding Habits
Tiger Sharks feed upon a variety of different items out there. They include stingrays, squid, clams, sea turtles, and a variety of fish. They will even eat other species of sharks that are smaller than they are. There is really nothing that they won’t consume in order to satisfy their hunger as well as their curiosity.
You won’t believe some of the things that have been found in the stomach contents of these sharks. They include tires, boats, rafts, clothing, trash, and even weapons that people may have used to try to hunt them. A researcher can tell a great deal about a Tiger Shark by what it has been feeding upon.
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Tiger Shark Reproduction
As I mentioned, there is plenty that we don’t know about the behavior of the Tiger Shark. That includes how they contact mates and under what circumstances. We do know a few things about their mating though. For example it can start when they are from 4 to 6 years of age. The males are also dominant and if the females resist their advances they will bite them sharply to hold them in place.
Once a female has conceived, she will carry the young around in her body for a year. She will give birth to them while still swimming through the water. Her litter can be as many as 80 offspring or as few as only 10. She won’t do anything with them but swim away after they are born. These young Tiger Sharks rely upon instinct alone for their survival.
Tiger Shark Predators
They don’t have any predators other than humans, but we all know the disasters that people can create. They have hunted the Tiger Shark populations to very low numbers. Some like to hunt these very difficult and aggressive animals. Others want to get rid of dangerous sharks so they can spend their time boating and surfing without such a threat in place.
There are some locations out there where the Tiger Shark happens to be hunted as a source of meat for people. In large commercial fishing areas they will kill them because they consume large volumes of the fish they want to be able to capture. Sometimes they are also used for the Vitamin A that they produce.
As a result of all of this, the Tiger Shark is now considered to be very vulnerable. As their own natural environment is taken away it is going to compound the problem. They are going to continue moving into new territories where they will likely have more contacts with people than they have had in the past. There are some conservation efforts out there but to be honest, not many people out there are really interested in helping what they have labeled as killer sharks to survive.