Marine Biology

The Life Cycle of Tiger Sharks



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THE WASTEBASKET OF THE SEA

Tiger sharks are omnivorous creatures which can grow to be 14 feet long and weigh as much as 1900 pounds. They literally will eat anything, including tires and metal objects. They will also eat human beings and are infamous for attacking people close to shore around the Hawaiian islands. They are ranked as the second most dangerous shark, the first being the Great White. Where a Great White might be predisposed to bite a human being and then retreat, a Tiger shark will eat a human being, warts and all.

In some cases, it has been known for Tiger sharks to actually prey on humans. As in await their close proximity, sneak up on them and attack them. Not just bite or attack because the human happen to wander into their territory.

Tiger sharks begin their lives inside the mother within eggs which, after the male clamps his jaws in the flesh of the mother and inserts sperm, actually hatch inside the mother also. This form of reproduction is known as aplacental viviparity and there is no placenta to nourish the pups. When the young are actually emitted from the mother they are about 30 inches long and have dark stripes which run vertically down the body. Usually they are light blue or green with a yellowish underside. These baby sharks are immediately independant and fend for themselves. There apparently is no rite of passage except birth itself. Usually the mother will birth between 10 and 82 pups, every three years.

These sharks are loners and tend not to group except during mating season.

Tiger sharks have a life span of 20 to 50 years and usually spend that time close to the equator in warmer waters. The are known to swim into shallower waters, but have been seen at 3,000 feet depths. While the Tiger shark prefers warm waters, they have been spotted off the coast of New South Wales in warm seasons. Also Australia. Regardless of where they are found, they tend to be reef predators and they should be considered very dangerous to humans, because they are.

During research off the coast of Australia, it has been noted that Tiger sharks don't necessarily like to attack and eat prey that notices them. These sharks, interestingly, bounce when they swim due to the fact that they usually swim in shallow waters. (Maybe causing an underwater vacuum which "scoops" prey their way-just my guess.)

Their preferred diet seems to be sea turtles, common fish, squid, birds and seals.

Sources: www.wikipedia.org www.fiu.edu animals.nationalgeographic.com www.enchantedlearning.com

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