The Tiger Shark

Tanner Thompson


Galeocerdo cuvie, more commonly known as the Tiger shark, is one of the most interesting sharks in the ocean. They are easy to identify due to the tiger like stripes on their body. In this article, we will look into all aspects of a Tiger shark.


Tiger sharks live in warm water found around the tropic regions, although they are also seen in some sub-tropic. They are most seen in the Atlantic ocean. However, many reside in the waters surrounding Hawaii. Recently, they have also been spotted off the coasts of New Zealand and Japan (National Geographic).

Photo by: Jim Abernethy

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Physical characteristics

Tiger sharks can grow to be 14-20 feet in length but average around 12 feet. They weigh from 850 pounds to 1,400 pounds. They can live up to 50 years in the wild. They get their name from the tiger-like stripes on the juvenile sharks. These stripes fade away as they get older and eventually disappear completely (Sharks-World, 2014). They have powerful jaws for easily devouring prey. They have a bite force of three tons per centimeter (Ritter, 2009).

Photo by: Wade Walcher

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Tiger shark females give birth to live young. The young are between 50 and 70 centimeters. The average number of pups per litter is 41. The females bear young approximately every three years (Ritter, 2009)

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Food chain

The Tiger shark in famous for eating anything and everything. When dissected, contents found in their stomachs include fish, stingrays, sea snakes, turtles, seals, birds, squid, license plates, tires, and many other sea animals and garbage. This trait has earned them the nickname "wastebasket of the sea." They have no oceanic predators. Their only predator is the human. They are harvested for their fins, skin, and organs (National Geographic). In Hawaii, they are hunted to keep tourists minds at ease (Sharks-World, 2014).
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Significance to culture and society

The Tiger shark is often feared since they have the most recorded human attacks in tropical areas. Native Hawaiians honored tiger sharks and considered them sacred. They were even considered reincarnations of dead family members (Ritter, 2009).

Photo by: Richard Morgan Howell


The Tiger shark is often feared because of its reputation of attacking humans. It has the highest number of human attacks after the Great White. For this reason, it has become one of the most feared sharks in the ocean. They have extremely good senses of sight and smell, which makes them excellent night hunters. They are also the fourth largest shark in the world (Ritter, 2009). They are also now listed as threatened (National Geographic).

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Works Cited

Ritter, E. (2009, December 6). Fact Sheet: TIger Sharks. Retrieved April 15, 2015, from

Sharks-World. (2014). Tiger Shark. Retrieved April 15, 2015, from

National Geographic. Tiger Sharks - Tiger Shark Pictures - Tiger Shark Facts - National Geographic. Retrieved April 15, 2015, from