lucky enough to meet one at the Burma banks, it is tiger sharks I want to write about.
measuring 3 to 4 meters, for an average weight of 500kg ! Usually found in
temperate and tropical oceans, tiger shark is usually a loner that hunts at night.
But why it is call tiger shark then?
Because its grey-brown body is streaked with dark vertical stripes, particularly visible in young adults, while juveniles have a silver-coloured livery that is spotted as Leopard. Tasks become bars with age and then disappear at sexual maturity.
Like most sharks, the tiger shark has highly developed sensory organs making them kindda a super hero, right?
- Lorenzini bulbs allow tiger sharks to detect electric fields as well as any vibration
emitted by their prey
- tapetum lucidum located at the bottom of the retina allows them, like cats, to amplify the light and see in the darkness.
All these sensory organs are adapted to its nocturnal hunting activity.
Where does the tiger shark live?
Tiger sharks are supposedly present in all tropical and subtropical seas, but really it is mostly seen in the Caribbean, throughout the pacific and some times in the Indian Ocean (yeah !). Although not oceanic, they do operate large crossings between the Islands.
What does tiger shark eat?
Unselective, tiger sharks are often considered the dustbin of the seas, swallowing all sorts of things indiscriminately, including human trash as found in the stomach of fished specimens: cans, plastic bags or even license plates. This lack of discernment is one of the reasons for his dangerousness. Because of its lack of selectivity, its predation activity includes many prey: other sharks, birds, sea snakes and even sometimes whales, especially if they are sick or injured. The tiger shark is considered a super predator. When hunting, the tiger shark tends to swim slowly and accelerate abruptly when it is close enough to its prey.
Are tiger sharks dangerous ?
Tiger shark is considered to be particularly aggressive because of its little selectivity and has been involved in very rare accidents with humans.
Keep in mind though that shark bites (all species included) are very rare: with less
than 80 cases per year worldwide, (and less than 5 fatal cases).
These attacks mostly occur on surfers or people attempting to feed them which is not at all recommendable as that only encourage further problems.
And what about tiger sharks reproduction?
« Tigers » is the only ovoviviparous of the Carcharhinidae family. This means that the eggs incubate and eventually hatch into the mother's womb. His gestation period is close to 1 year and the fertilised eggs remain in the belly of the female until hatching making them slow to reproduce. If a female is caught by fishermen baby sharks go with her..
A female can carry up to 40 babies each and they reach maturity at 4 years old.
Here is the only shot we could take of this very special encounter with a tiger shark !