Tiger Shark

The Facts

  • Genus/Species: Galeocerdo cuvier
  • Conservation Status: Near Threatened
  • Location: Worldwide in tropical and sub tropical seas and oceans.

Tiger Shark
Tiger Shark

The Scoop

Man Eating Predator

Tiger sharks are common in tropical and sub-tropical waters throughout the world. During winter, these species prefer to live in proximity to the equator. They inhabit both shorelines and open waters. Tiger sharks have a reputation to feed on humans and are therefore much feared.  They get their name from the vertical stripes seen mainly in juveniles. They have sharp, highly serrated teeth and powerful jaws. Their teeth are located in rows which rotate into use as needed. The first two rows are used in obtaining prey; the other rows rotate into place as they are needed. As their teeth are lost, broken, or worn down, they are replaced by new teeth that rotate into place. Tiger sharks also have a special gill slit called a spiracle behind the eyes that provides oxygen flow directly to the eyes and brain. They also have a very good sense of smell.

Large tiger sharks can grow to as much as 20 to 25 feet in length and can weigh more than 1,900 pounds, which is just a little less than the weight of a small car. They are voracious hunters and eat almost anything - stingrays, sea snakes, seals, birds, squids, and even license plates and old tires!

Tiger sharks breed only every two years so they are vulnerable to over-fishing. They are as vicious killers but are actually far more threatened by humans than humans are by them. They are hunted for sport, food and other resources. However, so far, Tiger Sharks are not endangered.


Did You Know?

  • Tiger sharks are often referred to as the ‘wastebaskets of the sea’ because of their tendency to eat anything, even garbage.
  • Interesting things have been found inside a tiger shark. Once, nine shoes, dogs, a driver's license, a cow's hoof, the antlers of a deer, medieval armor, and a chicken coop with feathers in it were found inside the belly of a tiger shark.
  • Tiger sharks can dive up to 3,000 feet deep into the ocean.
  • Tiger sharks, like all other sharks, do not have a single bone in their body. Instead they have a skeleton made up of cartilage - the same type of tough, flexible tissue that makes up human ears and noses.
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