The Tiger Shark, also called Galeocerdo Cuvier in the scientific community, is the only member of the Galeocerdo genus. This shark is an aggressive predator and is found mostly in tropical and warm waters. Being larger than its requiem cousins, they can grow up to a length of 15 – 16 feet or 5 meters and can weigh around 1,800 pounds or 800 kilograms. Imagine having one of those on the end of your fishing pole!
There have been isolated cases where they get much larger than that. Also called the sea tiger, they get their name from the tiger like stripes on the body which fades away as it grows older. They also earned the nickname The Wastebasket Of The Sea because they will eat virtually anything, including human garbage and trash which floats out to sea.
DISTRIBUTION AND HABITAT
The tiger shark is found in tropical and subtropical waters around the world but mostly inhabit a range between the parallels 45 ° north and 32 ° south. Its presence ranges from the east coast of North America to the east coast of Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico. The oceans of China, India, Africa, Japan and the Pacific Islands are also places where the tiger shark dwells.
It is a saltwater species and often approaches near the coasts with relatively shallow waters (2.5-145 meters deep). It inhabits seagrass, but also near atolls and even estuaries. It does not always stay in one place, so its habitat is changing.
The tiger shark diet is made up of fish, mollusks, crustaceans, sea turtles, seabirds and even mammals such as the dugong. It also consumes small sharks and the remains of dead whales or can even venture to attack the wounded and immobile cetaceans.
Tiger sharks have an enormous appetite and can eat almost anything they find in their path. That is why, if they run into non-edible objects or junk, they do not hesitate to eat them even without trying them first. In their stomachs trash, bags, and even license plates have been found.
They can camouflage with the environment and thus easily trap their prey. However, these sharks have one disadvantage: if their victim begins to flee, they recoil and do not pursue it since they do not engage in high-speed chases.
Tiger Sharks are the only requiem sharks that have n Viviparous reproductive cycle. The female Sharks are considered sexually mature once they reach a size of 2.5 meters or 8 feet and males are sexually developed once they grow to 2.3 meters or 7.5 feet. The reproduction method is simple. The male holds the female with its teeth to keep her stable and inserts one of its claspers into the female’s cloaca to guide the flow of sperm. Sometimes the female will sustain minor injuries during the act, but the injuries heal quickly.
Reproduction periods are between March and May and the pup birth occurs between April and June, the year after. That means the gestation period can be up to sixteen months and the pups are developed inside the mother’s body during this time. A healthy tiger shark pup is about 75 centimeters or 30 inches long when born and they are born in litters ranging anywhere between ten and eighty.
The life span of a Tiger Shark is not well documented, however, it is known that they can live beyond 12 years of age.