Tiger Shark - Diet, Characteristics, Reproduction and Conservation

Tiger shark: find out what this animal is like, its physical characteristics, character, behavior, etc. Sharks are species of fish characterized by a structure...

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Sharks are species of fish characterized by a cartilaginous skeletal structure. A terrifying idea has been constructed around these animals which, in many cases, exceeds reality. Indeed, there are species of sharks that can be very dangerous to humans, but there are many others that are not. In this AnimalPlanet fact sheet, we are going to tell you about the tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier), a super predator of the marine ecosystems where it lives. Read on and discover lots of curiosities about it!


  • Africa
  • America
  • Asia
  • Europe
  • Oceania

Tiger Shark Features

The tiger shark is one of the largest chondrichthyan sharks. These animals, in adulthood, measure between 3 and 5 meters and, although there are heavier individuals, they usually weigh between 380 and 600 kg. Females are smaller than males. The color of the skin can be blue or green, and their belly is light yellow or white. Its name, associated with a feline, is due to the presence of tiger-like stripes, which tend to fade with age.

The head of this shark is flat, with large eyes and a blunt nose. It has well-developed labial folds and large, sharp, serrated teeth, which allow it to easily tear or tear meat from its prey.The body is more robust in the front and thinner towards the rear. The dorsal fin is well developed and pointed. The fore flippers are wide and curved backwards, while the caudal fin is characterized by an upper lobe larger than the lower lobe. It also has four smaller rear fins.

The Tiger Shark moves in motion in this form and tends to move constantly. He perceives the environment thanks to highly developed senses, for example organs called ampullae of Lorenzini, located in the nose which are made up of a gelatinous substance which receives the electromagnetic signals emitted by other animals, thus allowing him to locate them. .

Also, these structures are useful for detecting changes in water pressure and temperature. On the other hand, they have other sensory structures called lateral lines, which are located on each side of the body and serve to detect movements in the water, mainly caused by other animals.

Tiger Shark Habitat

The tiger shark is a cosmopolitan species, that is to say distributed in the marine ecosystems of the Americas, Africa, Asia, Oceania and some European islands. It is distributed in tropical and subtropical waters of the aforementioned regions. It is usually found in areas near the coast where there are seagrass beds, coral reefs or slopes. In terms of depth, it is usually found in waters of around 100 meters. However, it can also move to areas away from the coast and to much deeper areas, since it has been found to be able to dive to just over 1000 meters.

Find out where sharks live!

Habits of the Tiger Shark

Tiger sharks are solitary and primarily nocturnal feeders. They only come together for reproduction or when they coincide with conspecifics in feeding areas where there is enough prey.Although they do not have gregarious habits, a hierarchical role is exercised by older individuals.

Discover all types of sharks!

Tiger Shark Feeding

The tiger shark is a species that is at the top of the food webs of the ecosystems in which it thrives. It is a super-predator, distinguished by its ability to devour virtually anything it desires, including the vast amounts of human waste that ends up in the seas. Its diet is very varied and includes birds, various marine mammals, other fish, snakes, turtles, whose shells it breaks open with its powerful teeth, and molluscs. It also consumes carrion and can attack and devour injured whales. It is precisely in the presence of prey such as a whale or its remains that these animals can congregate. As you can see, despite their bad reputation, these sharks don't really attack people.

Tiger sharks hunt using a stalking technique rather than attacks involving excessive use of force and speed. Their coloring serves to camouflage them effectively, allowing them to surprise their prey. In this sense, these sharks are very perceptive and sensitive to what is happening around them, which favors their hunting techniques. When feeding in groups, they usually emit electromagnetic signals to show their hierarchy. So the older ones feed first and when satisfied, the younger ones approach the rest of the food.

In the following article, we talk about the size of sharks!

Reproduction of the tiger shark

These sharks do not pair, so males and females can have multiple mates during their lifetime. The tiger shark is a lecithotrophic viviparous species, that is to say that the young feed on the yolk contained in the egg before hatching.Sexual maturity correlates with the size of the animal, with males reaching sexual maturity at around 3 meters and females at around 3.45 meters. Females breed every three years, producing litters of 10 to 80 young, after a gestation period of 16 months.

There are differences in the breeding season depending on the region where the species is found. Northern females mate between March and May, while southern females do so from November to January. In both cases, they will give birth the following year, when they will seek a sheltered area.

Tiger shark conservation status

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the tiger shark is considered Near Threatened, with a declining population trend. The main threat to the species is intentional and accidental capture in fishing nets. In the first case, it is due to the growing demand for shark fins, as well as the consumption of cartilage, liver oil and skin.Unfortunately, there are no conservation programs to protect the species, apart from a few isolated actions in certain regions, which do not prohibit their capture, but only regulate the quantities that can be fished.

Tiger shark pictures

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