Tiger sharks exist at the top of the food chain, and they prey on a wide variety of species, including fish, sea turtles and other sharks. Additionally, tiger sharks prey on sea-dwelling birds, catching them as they land on the water’s surface. Mollusks such as sea snails, conchs and whelks also serve as prey for the opportunistic sharks. Tiger sharks are also scavengers that have been known to eat garbage.
According to the Shark Bay Ecosystem Research Project, tiger sharks are important in regulating the population of many of the small species that share their habitat. This includes those species that the tiger sharks hunt, as well as those that they rarely eat. This occurs because the non-prey species must still avoid the prowling tiger sharks; because of this, they cannot forage for food as often. This makes it harder for these species to grow, develop and breed successfully.
Although tiger sharks rarely attack humans, they are second to only great white sharks in terms of reported human attacks. In Hawaii, where tiger sharks are common, there is an average of one human attack each year, according to the Shark Bay Ecosystem Research Project.
While tiger sharks are apex predators, they are often caught and eaten by humans.