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Tiger sharks are the only living species of the genus Galeocerdo. It is also known as the sea tiger, recognizable by dark stripes on its skin similar to tigers.
See the fact file below for more information on the tiger sharks or alternatively, you can download our 26-page Tiger Shark worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
Habitat, Anatomy and Life Cycle
- Common Name: Tiger shark
- Scientific Name: Galeocerdo cuvier
- Type: Fish
- Diet: Carnivores
- Habitat: Warm and tropical waters
- Gestation Period: 16 months
- Average Size: 10 to 14 feet
- Average Weight: 850 to 1,400 lbs
- Average Lifespan in the Wild: 15 years and longer
- Tiger sharks are found in the warm, tropical and subtropical waters of the east coast of North America to the east coast of Brazil. Moreover, the oceans of China, Africa, Japan, India and the Pacific also serve as their habitat.
- Tiger sharks are saltwater species that do not stay in one place. They’re often found in shallow waters, atolls and estuaries.
- The Pacific islands of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia are home to the largest tiger shark population.
- Tiger sharks are one of the largest inhabitants of the ocean, though they are smaller than whale sharks and the great white shark.
- They can reach a maximum length of 14 to 15 feet and weigh up to 385 to 635 kilograms.
- Young tiger sharks are easily distinguished because of the dark stripes on their skin similar to land tigers. Such features fade as they get older.
- The background of their stripes is bluish-green to dark gray skin.
- They have a narrow snout, blunt nose, serrated teeth and an excellent sense of sight and smell.
- Like other sharks, tiger sharks move using fins including the pectoral fin and caudal fin, or the tail. The dorsal fin enables them to change direction. They also have vibration detectors to help them detect underwater movement.
- Some hunters amputate tiger sharks’ fins and release them again but a tiger shark without fins will certainly die because it won’t be able to swim and hunt.
- They are known as “wastebaskets of the ocean” because they will eat anything from turtles, seals, sharks, and manatee to dead whales and other marine animals. Their enormous appetite makes them eat whatever is in their path, even non-edible objects like rubber tires, license plates and beer bottles.
- Among the primary factors of their migration is availability of food.
- Tiger sharks are ovoviviparous, which means shark eggs are fertilized inside the mother. Females can give birth from 10 to 80 pups every three years. The gestation period can last from 14 to 16 months.
- Once born, pups are on their own. They have long tails which prevent them from swimming fast. In order to escape predators, including adult tiger sharks, pups use their marking to camouflage themselves with the waves.
- Females reach sexual maturity at the age of 8, while males at 7 years old.
Behavioral Traits and Habits
- Tiger sharks are known as mostly nocturnal solitary hunters. They prefer to live alone unless during mating. In rare cases, tiger sharks will tolerate each other when there is a large amount of food like a dead whale.
- Large and older tiger sharks have dominating behavior during hunting and eating.
- Since tiger sharks live in warm waters, they are more likely to be in contact with humans.
- In terms of reproductive habits, both male and female tiger sharks have multiple partners. During mating, male tiger sharks usually bite females on the back. Such ritual mating leave scarring marks on the female’s back.
Shark Danger v. Human Danger
- According to the IUCN Red List, tiger sharks are classified as near threatened because of commercial and recreational overfishing.
- In Asian culture, tiger shark fins are a culinary commodity. They are the main ingredient in some soups and dumplings.
- In addition, tiger sharks are also harvested for of their skin, meat and liver for edible and nutritious oil.
- In Hawaii, tiger sharks are considered aumakua, which means sacred guardian spirit.
- Tiger sharks are one of the three species known for attacking humans, next to bull sharks and great whites.
- In the mid-50s to 70s, about 4,700 tiger sharks were killed in order to offer protection to tourists in Hawaii. However, it did not reduce shark injuries primarily through shark feeding entertainment.
Additional Sharky Facts
- Based on their characteristics, sharks are classified into 8 orders: Angel sharks, saw sharks, dogfish sharks, ground sharks, mackerel sharks, carpet sharks, bullhead sharks, and frilled and cow sharks.
- Sharks have dermal denticles also known as placoid scales, which are smooth enabling them to swim swiftly underwater.
- The whale shark is the largest at 41.5 feet, while the smallest dwarf lantern shark measures only 6 inches.
- The goblin shark is the oldest known species of living shark and has been around for 120 million years.
- Sharks are known as silent killers because they make no sound. They communicate through body language like zigzag swimming, head butts, and head shaking.
- Some species can reproduce asexually through parthenogenesis.
Tiger Shark Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about tiger sharks across 26 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Tiger Shark worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the tiger sharks which are the only living species of the genus Galeocerdo. It is also known as the sea tiger, recognizable by dark stripes on its skin similar to tigers.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Tiger Shark Facts
- Extreme Sharky Facts
- Sharky Parts
- Word Connect
- The Sea Tiger
- Word Finder
- Sharky Quiz
- Tiger Shark World
- Fact or Tale
- Know Your Sharks
- Be a Survivor
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.