To see photographs of the Tiger Shark (Galeocerdo cuvier)
Tiger Shark (Galeocerdo cuvier)
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Taxonomic name: Galeocerdo cuvier
From knee-deep shallow sandy lagoons to deep ocean walls, the Tiger Shark
(Galeocerdo cuvier) is the king of tropical sharks. A blunt, almost square
snout, large black eyes rimmed with white and broad dark bands on the
back and flanks easily distinguish this shark from any other. The teeth
are a distinctive cockscomb shape, ideal for a wide variety of prey.
Born at 50 cm long, distinctly striped juveniles can grow to 6 m. Sharks
over 3.5 m become very deep bodied and heavy. At maturity the broad dark
bands may fade almost completely to an overall mid- to dark grey; on the
flanks the fading colour merges with the white belly. Females give birth
to litters of 1080 pups 12 month after conception. The lifespan
of Tiger Sharks is about 1213 years.
Unlike many other sharks, the Tiger Shark has an indiscriminate appetite
and in their stomach have been found objects as bizarre and diverse as
plastic toys and human remains. At regular seasonal intervals, however,
Tiger Sharks are known to feed on specific prey. For example, they appear
to know the precise locations and times of the year that certain animals,
such as turtles and birds, breed and they turn up on cue to feast on the
old, young, sick or unwary.
Tiger Sharks have attacked, killed and even eaten humans on occasion so
they should be treated with the utmost respect. However when confronted
with divers, they are usually very cautious and shy, coming in only briefly
to satisfy their curiosity before departing for deep water.