What Kind of Animal is a Tiger Shark?

Though it can tolerate many types of marine environments, the tiger shark is most often found in murky coastal waters.

The tiger shark is one of the largest extant members of the genus Galeocerdo. Its body is about 10 feet long and it can weigh as much as 1,400 pounds. The lifespan of a tiger shark is unknown, although it is thought to be about 20 years. The shark has been a popular sport fish for many years and has been a top prize winner at several international and national competitions.

The tiger shark's dark-skinned dorsal surface contrasts dramatically with its pale, stark white underbelly. Its snout contains ampullae of Lorenzini, which help it detect electric fields. Its teeth have sideways tips and are sharply serrated. Like other sharks, tiger sharks can cut through bone and flesh. They can even cut through the shells of sea turtles. Teeth of this species grow in rows and they gradually decrease in size as they age. The tiger shark has six senses and a distinctly unique snout. This makes them one of the only gray shark species with suction holes. 

The tiger shark tends to be active at dusk and night. They normally stay in waters up to 1,100 feet deep, but they are also often found in shallower waters. They can even come close to the shore in areas of 10 to 40 feet deep. Young tiger sharks are less timid and will appear at a scene of prey while a larger animal will generally go their own way. However, it is not uncommon to see several of these creatures at a single feeding site at one time.

The tiger shark's diet varies by region, but it usually consists of crustaceans, fish, sea turtles, mollusks, seabirds and other small creatures. Although it is primarily a nocturnal animal, it has been observed to feed during the day. In Hawaii, these sharks eat diurnal monk seals. Tiger sharks are also notorious garbage-eaters. 

The tiger shark mate every three years and the female will give birth to between 10 and 80 pups. The male tiger shark will place a clapper in the cloaca of the female, which she will hold still during internal fertilization. Embryos develop within the egg of the mother and then switch to the uterine fluid for nutrition at a later stage of development. The female will then give birth to live pups after a gestation period of about 13-16 months. 

The female tiger shark often finds a secluded location for her pups to stay together after giving birth. Unfortunately, these pups are preyed on by larger species, due to their oversized fins and appearance. Because they are so large, these sharks are often unable to find safe homes for themselves, making them easy targets for predators.

Where does tiger shark live?

The tiger shark is found in tropical and subtropical waters all around the world. Its home range is the western Pacific. It lives in pelagic and coastal waters, and it can be seen off the coast of Northwest Africa and the southern and eastern United States. It is most commonly found near the coasts of Florida and the Caribbean, as well as near Australia, India and China. It is a nomad, relying on water temperature to guide its movements. 

Though it can tolerate many types of marine environments, the tiger shark is most often found in murky coastal waters. These areas are known to be rich in fresh water, which provides a rich habitat for the tiger shark. 

Unsustainable fishing practices have destroyed their habitat and they are frequently caught by fishermen. The IUCN Red List classifies tiger sharks as Near Threatened. 

Why are they called tiger shark?

A tiger shark is named for the unique stripes on its back and sides. Their stripes usually fade as they age and they have a blunt snout and highly curved teeth.

Is tiger shark aggressive?

This fascinating animal has many interesting characteristics. Tiger sharks are extremely aggressive and hunt alone in shallow waters. They use their elongated snouts and ampullae of Lorenzini, which are located on them, to detect a slight electric field produced by living organisms. They also use their color and slow movements to camouflage themselves, which helps them to remain undetected by prey. Although tiger sharks have the potential to be dangerous and can kill people, they are a very rare species. 

The tiger shark has a unique mating ritual, with males biting the female on the back and fins. In the wild, scientists have found traces of this mating ritual on the female, which may explain why she avoids breeding. Despite the pain, the female still bears young once every three years. While this behavior may be instinctual, it is not uncommon for female tiger sharks to avoid breeding.
Despite being an extremely large predator, tiger sharks do not attack humans unless provoked. The majority of tiger shark attacks on humans occur accidentally. This is because the shark mistakenly thought that humans were turtles. A tiger shark's appetite is so large that it's unlikely to swim away after biting a human. Nevertheless, tiger sharks are extremely aggressive and they don't care who they attack.