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Tiger Shark

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So called because of the tiger-like stripes on juveniles, the tiger shark is, like its terrestrial namesake, a voracious hunter.



About the Tiger Shark

Tiger sharks are named for the dark, vertical stripes found mainly on juveniles. As these sharks mature, the lines begin to fade and almost disappear.

Shark Attacks

These large, blunt-nosed predators have a duly earned reputation as man-eaters. They are second only to great whites in attacking people. But because they have a near completely undiscerning palate, they are not likely to swim away after biting a human, as great whites frequently do.

Hunting

They are consummate scavengers, with excellent senses of sight and smell and a nearly limitless menu of diet items. They have sharp, highly serrated teeth and powerful jaws that allow them to crack the shells of sea turtles and clams. The stomach contents of captured tiger sharks have included stingrays, sea snakes, seals, birds, squids, and even license plates and old tires.

Population

Tiger sharks are common in tropical and sub-tropical waters throughout the world. Large specimens can grow to as much as 20 to 25 feet in length and weigh more than 1,900 pounds.

Threats to Survival

They are heavily harvested for their fins, skin, and flesh, and their livers contain high levels of vitamin A, which is processed into vitamin oil. They have extremely low repopulation rates, and therefore may be highly susceptible to fishing pressure. They are listed as near threatened throughout their range.


WATCH: Tiger Sharks—Swimming With an Awesome Predator

Swim along with photographer Brian Skerry as he dives with tiger sharks in an area near Grand Bahama Island known as Tiger Beach. Tiger sharks are responsible for more recorded attacks on humans than any shark except the great white, but here they are calm, friendly and curious.