The tiger shark is bluish gray to black above
and light gray to white below. The dark vertical
stripes along the sides that give this shark its
common name are much more prominent in juveniles
The body shape is distinctive, with a broad
head and upper body, becoming increasingly
slender towards the tail. The jaws are large and
house a set of sizeable teeth with curved cusps
and finely serrated edges. The dorsal lobe of the
caudal (tail) fin is longer than the ventral
Tiger sharks range from 9 to 16 feet in length
and weigh 845-1,900 pounds, with males being
larger than females.
Tiger sharks are found in tropical and
subtropical seas around the world, primarily from
45° N to 32° S. They are most common in shallow
coastline habitats at depths of 8 to 475 feet,
but have been reported several miles out from
shore and as deep as 1,150 feet, as well as in
river estuaries and harbors.
Tiger sharks will feed on virtually anything
they can get in their mouth, including other
sharks. They prefer live prey, but will take
carrion if hungry. Although they have been known
to attack humans, fatal attacks are rare.
The tiger shark's coloration allows it to
"sneak up" on prey before striking. If
the prey flees, the shark will usually back off
rather than chase, but it is capable of short
bursts of speed once prey is within range.
Very little is known about the courting habits
of tiger sharks, except that both sexes have
In the northern hemisphere, females delay
fertilization until March or May in order to give
birth between May and June of the following year.
In the southern hemisphere, females delay mating
until November or January in order to give birth
between February and March of the following year.
Tiger sharks are one of the few species that are
ovoviviparous (meaning that the eggs are
fertilized and incubated internally).
Up to 80 pups are born aftera n incubation
period of 13-16 months. Female tiger sharks
typically give birth in a nursery, which provides
protection during birth and to the young directly
after birth. Tiger sharks are born independent,
and mothers do not help their pups to find food,
shelter or to survive. Males play no role in the
lives of their offspring. Pups, however, are born
with traits that help them survive without
parents, including camouflage patterning, teeth
to help capture prey, and speed to avoid
predators. They reach maturity at 6-8 years, with
males being sexually mature earlier than females.
Tiger sharks can live up to 27 years in the
wild. Captive tiger sharks tend to have a far
shorter lifespan, often "preferring" to
starve to death rather than eat food that is
Tiger sharks are generally
solitary, but will feed communally on large
carcasses. In the latter case, larger sharks tend
to feed first, while smaller sharks circle and
await their turns.
Nomadic, a tiger shark will
commonly travel up to 50 miles a day, stopping
only to feed.
Most movement and feeding takes
place at night.
genus & species Galeocerdo cuvieri
Animal Diversity Web http://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Galeocerdo_cuvier/
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