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Tiger Shark

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Tiger Shark
Galeocerdo cuvier

Tiger Shark
Photo modified from Sharks and Rays. TC Tricas, K Deacon, P Last, JE McCosker, TI Walker, L Taylor. 1997. Nature Company Guides, Time Life Book Series. Weldon Owen Pty Ltd San Francisco.

   This large, dangerous shark is to tropical waters what the great white is to temperate waters. It is named fro the dark strips on its gray back, which pronounced in juveniles but become pale or disappear in large adults. Its wide mouth, broad nose, barrel chest, and the slenderness at the base of its tail are distinctive. So, too, are its heavily serrated, cockscomb-shaped teeth. These, combined with its jaw strength, allow it to cut the bodies of large sea turtles, as well as seals, sea lions, and cetaceans.
   They are active at night, and enter shallow reefs and lagoons after dusk to feed. In certain areas they migrate between island groups to take advantage of colonies of young birds learning to fly over water. Generally, tiger sharks are sluggish, but they can move quickly when feeding, and should be treated carefully on the rare occasions they are sighted. If you see one while diving, calmly leave the water, keeping it in sight at all times.

Tiger Shark Teeth

Diet

   One of the few true scavengers, it has eaten cattle, pigs, donkeys, sheep, and humans that have fallen overboard. It also has a liking for such spicy treats as venomous jellyfish, stingrays, and sea snakes.

Reproduction

   The tiger shark is the only ovoviviparous requiem shark. It has between 10 and 82 pups after a years gestation. The young are 20-30" (50-75cm) at birth. The mature after about 4 to 6 years, and live for about 12 years.

Habitat

   Adult tiger sharks spend their days beyond the reef edge to depths of about 500' (150m), except at certain times of the year, when they also come inshore during the day.

Range

   The tiger shark ranges world-wide in tropical waters, but has been spotted in the Bay of Fundy at the mouth of Le Preau tangled in fishing weir.

Distinguishing Characteristics

  • Extremely dangerous
  • The shark's powerful body makes it capable of bursts of speed.
  • Very rarely seen
  • Not common
Tiger Shark
Photo modified from Sharks and Rays. TC Tricas, K Deacon, P Last, JE McCosker, TI Walker, L Taylor. 1997. Nature Company Guides, Time Life Book Series. Weldon Owen Pty Ltd San Francisco.

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