Tiger sharks are special because of their name that came from their physical resemblance to the tigers. It has stripes similar to those of the tigers although the stripes fade away as the tiger sharks grow into adults.
We have listed some eye-catching tiger shark facts for kids in this article. We hope you will find the article interesting and worth your time.
11 Most Interesting & Fun Facts about Tiger Sharks for Kids
The tiger sharks are not to be confused with the sand tiger sharks as they are not related. The tiger shark is a furious shark that has some interesting characteristics that make it special among the shark species. Let us have a look at those characteristics.
1. They have tiger-like stripes on their bodies
The tiger sharks are named so because of the black spots and stripes that run along their body length resembling the stripes of a tiger. These spots are more visible on the younger sharks and fade as the shark grows to be an adult.
It is powerful and dangerous, just like the tigers, and is an apex predator as well. You can refer to our article to know more about tigers – 11 Exciting Facts about Tigers for Kids
A Tiger shark has a wide nose that helps in taking quick turns and a pointed tail fin that is longer on the top. Two dorsal fins are there on its back, helping it to swim.
2. They can survive weeks without eating
Tiger sharks have a large appetite and can eat anything that it finds in its way. Its diet contains fish, crustaceans, mollusks, sea turtles, and sea birds. It can also consume small sharks and dead whales.
They are slow swimmers, and their camouflage ability makes them catch their prey easily without the prey noticing them until the moment it gets caught. They can survive without eating for several weeks.
3. They are among the deadliest fishes in the world
Tiger sharks are huge and rank fourth only after the whale shark, basking shark, and great white shark. Their body length ranges between 10 – 14 feet. The female tiger sharks are comparatively bigger than the male tiger sharks.
The average weight of tiger sharks lies between 850 – 1,400 pounds. One of the largest tiger sharks was caught near Australia, which weighed 3,360 pounds and was 18 feet long in body length.
4. Tiger sharks can swallow even garbage
Tiger sharks prefer to live a nomadic life and do not live in a group. They continuously move from one territory to the other but remain closer to the equator in the cold seasons.
The tiger sharks come closer to each other only during the mating season and live a solitary life otherwise. It is aggressive and will kill anything in its way, including humans for food.
They can swallow anything that comes their way and is often called the garbage cans of the oceans since a lot of plastic waste and trash has been found in their stomach.
5. They grow over 20,000 teeth in their lifespan
All the shark species, including the tiger shark, lose and grow teeth continuously throughout their lives. In an entire lifetime, they may produce around 20,000 – 30,000 teeth losing the older ones. The tiger sharks have rows of 24 identical teeth in both the upper and lower jaws.
They have squared jaws rather than the round ones in other sharks. These teeth and jaw structures of the tiger sharks differentiate them from the other shark species.
6. They can swim 1,000 feet deep in water
The tiger sharks live in the tropical and subtropical ocean waters. It can be found in the Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, and the Indian Ocean. It is found near the coastal waters of the United States, South America, Africa, and Australia.
Some of the tiger sharks share the same habitat, whereas the others roam around and cover much larger areas than the others. They often swim near the water surface, but the deepest swimming recorded was under 1,150 feet deep in water.
7. They have a sixth sense
The tiger sharks have six senses that include sight, touch, smell, taste, hearing, and electroreception. This sixth sense of electroreception is due to the special pores that it has beneath its skin around the snout.
These are filled with a jelly-like substance that helps in detecting electric fields. Electric fields are given by every living being underwater and attract the sharks towards them. Once the prey is spotted, they move slowly towards it like a tiger stalk their prey, kill it and eat it.
8. Mothers abandon the pups as soon as they are born
The baby tiger sharks are known as pups. It is around 20-30 inches in length when born. The body of the baby tiger sharks is covered in grey spots rather than stripes which are seen on the grown tiger sharks. These spots are transformed into stripes as they grow up.
The pups develop for 16 months inside their mother’s body. After taking birth, the pups are on their own to defend themselves and hunt for food as the mother leaves them.
They are even attacked by their mother when encountered, so they find hiding spots as soon as they are born. It is not advised to keep a baby tiger shark as a pet as they are instinctively aggressive.
9. The killer whales feed on tiger sharks
The exact lifespan of tiger sharks is unknown, but it is believed to be an average of 15 years or even more. They are the apex predators but are sometimes hunted down by killer whales, also known as orca.
The killer whales drive them to the surface, grab them from the middle of their body and hold them upside down which brings about tonic immobility in them and causes drowning of the shark. Then the orca bites off its fins and eats it.
10. They enter human habitats and attack them
Tiger sharks are aggressive and often go to the water surface and shallow waters in search of food. In such cases, when it encounters a human, it will likely attack and kill the human. Tiger sharks are responsible for a large number of attacks on humans.
It is the largest shark species that is causing trouble in Hawaii. It has affected the tourism industry of Hawaii, and for this very reason, 4,668 tiger sharks were killed between 1959 – 1976 to control their attacks. Feeding sharks in Hawaii is illegal, and cage diving is also not allowed.
11. The tiger shark liver is protein enriched
Tiger sharks are endangered species. It is hunted for its fins, flesh, skin, and liver, which provides the source of Vitamin A and is used in the making of vitamin oils. The fins are used to make soups as well.
Since tiger sharks cause the most attacks on humans, they are killed for protection from them as well. The number of tiger sharks left in the world is unknown, according to IUCN, but they are the near-threatened shark species.
Also want to know about some other sea creatures, read these articles:
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Tiger sharks leave their babies after giving birth and might attack them when encountered with them later. The babies eat their siblings when inside their mother’s body.
Tiger sharks are found in the Gulf of Mexico, North America, South America, the Caribbean Sea, Africa, China, India, Australia, and Indonesia.
Tiger sharks can weigh up to 1,400 pounds.
The scientific name of the Tiger Shark is Galeocerdo Cuvier.
Tiger sharks eat a variety of diets including dolphins, octopuses, sea snakes, marine turtles, seabirds, lobsters, sharks, crabs, sea lions, seals, jellyfish etc.
Tiger sharks can survive for weeks without eating anything. They don’t need to eat every day.
They live in tropical and subtropical oceans. They can also be found in temperate oceans at times.
They can have a body length of 10 – 14 feet.
Tiger sharks have rows of 24 identical teeth in both upper and lower jaws.
Killer whales and humans are the two major tiger shark predators.
They can swim at a speed of 20 miles per hour.
Tiger sharks are dangerous and aggressive predators. They swim in the areas where humans swim and hence can harm the humans.
Tiger sharks are endangered due to hunting and killing for various purposes.
These were the interesting tiger shark facts for kids. We hope you gained some knowledge about these dangerous species of sharks. These are not human-friendly fishes so you should decide against keeping them as pets.