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Episode 162: Understanding Tiger Sharks

This week we go in depth about one of the oceans top predators, the Tiger Shark. We first discuss the true statistics on shark attacks around the world. Tiger Sharks are persecuted, hunted and culled due to the belief that they are a major nuisance and danger to humans. Nothing is further from the truth. More, we discuss how beautiful this large fish are and how critical they are to a healthy ecosystem.

Tiger Shark History

Sharks are one the oldest class of animals still alive. Species of sharks began to emerge nearly 450 million years ago. The first trees did not emerge on our land masses until 385 million years ago. This means sharks were here millions of years before them. Incredible. Furthermore, sharks dominated the world’s oceans 360 million years ago. This is known as the “Age of Sharks.”

Tiger Sharks have been around for roughly 56 million years ago. Our modern Tiger Shark is thought to have emerged roughly 5 million years ago. This makes them a truly old and ancient species. They are of the Family Cartharhinidae and called Requiem Sharks.  There are  migratory, live-bearing sharks. They live in tropical or warm seas and includes such species as the spinner shark, the blacknose shark, the blacktip shark, the grey reef shark, the blacktip reef shark, and the Oceanic whitetip shark.

Tiger Shark Facts

The data on shark attacks can be found here at the International Shark File. In 2019, there were 140 interactions with sharks reported worldwide. There were only 5 human deaths attributed to sharks. More people die each year due to interactions with domestic animals than by sharks.

Tiger sharks can live up to 50 years in the wild. They swim at about 18 MPH (35 KPH) and can dive down to 1200 feet (350 m). One of the more unique aspects of Tiger Sharks are their teeth. They are pointed sideways and designed in such a way that they can grab and take hold of prey, and then shred them to eat. Tiger sharks are most active hunting during the night. Many studies have shown that they typically almost always go for sick or injured prey.

Like other sharks, Tiger Sharks have incredible senses. They have acute smelling and special organs like the “ampullae of Lorinzini.” These special organs help detect electric fields and direct sharks towards their prey.

Tiger Sharks are generalist in the ocean and will eat almost anything. Though they are most associated with eating different fishes and invertebrates, seabirds, sea turtles, some marine mammals, stingrays and other rays, smaller sharks, sea snakes, and scavenged dead animals, among other things.

The sonogram of a pregnant Tiger Shark can be seen HERE


Tiger Sharks are listed as Near Threatened with a decreasing population. They are heading towards extinction. Pollution, climate change and culling programs are having devastating affects on populations. Tiger sharks are a critical top predator to our oceans ecosystems and need our protection.

The trailer for the film Envoy:Cull can be seen HERE


University of Miami Shark Research 

Tiger Shark Conservation Group





May 26, 2020
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