Q:

How does a tiger shark protect itself?

A:

Quick Answer

Defense for tiger sharks centers mostly on their anatomy and their behavior. Tiger sharks get very large, up to 16 feet in length and 1,400 pounds. They also have very powerful jaws, with the sharp teeth typical of sharks.

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Full Answer

In addition to being big, tiger sharks are also strong. They are capable of hunting and killing large marine animals such as dolphins, leatherback and green sea turtles, sea lions and even other sharks. Though shark attacks on humans are rare, many of them are committed by tiger sharks. The combination of size and strength help tiger sharks protect themselves.

Furthermore, tiger sharks use camouflage as a form of protection. Their color ranges from light green to blue with a light-colored underbelly. This means when the shark is seen from above, it blends in with the dark water. When seen from below, it blends in with the light from the surface.

Tiger sharks also exhibit behaviors that help their self-protection. They are nocturnal, so they are active when many other species are not. They retreat to lower depths in the daytime. Likewise, because of its high back and dorsal fins, a tiger shark can pivot quickly on its axis. Because of that, when confronted with danger, a tiger shark beats a hasty retreat. Before that, tiger sharks often indicate that they feel threatened by lowering their pectoral fins. This warns other animals to back off.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is the food chain for the tiger shark?

    A:

    Tiger sharks probably have a wider diversity of prey than any other shark species. Their primary prey species include fish, sea turtles, mollusks, sea birds and other sharks, but virtually anything swimming in the ocean is fair game. Adult tiger sharks have few predators other than humans, but young tiger sharks must avoid large predatory fish and sharks.

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  • Q:

    What are some fun tiger shark facts for kids?

    A:

    Tiger sharks live in warm water, can grow to be more than 16 feet long and eat a wide range of food. For instance, tiger sharks aren't picky about their meals, eating birds and sea turtles or dolphins.

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  • Q:

    What are the characteristics of a tiger shark vs. a great white?

    A:

    Great white sharks grow up to 21 feet long, have a lifespan of approximately 70 years and live in all the world's oceans. In contrast, tiger sharks grow to about 16 feet, have a lifespan of approximately 50 years and are only found in temperate climates, especially around islands in the Pacific. Though somewhat visually similar, the tiger shark also has characteristic tiger-stripe markings, though these are often faded in mature adults.

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  • Q:

    How many teeth does a sand tiger shark have?

    A:

    Sand tiger sharks have 44 to 48 upper teeth and 41 to 46 lower teeth, so they can have anywhere from 85 to 94 teeth in total. The front teeth are long and jagged and can be seen even when the shark's mouth is shut. Many of the sand tiger shark's teeth are small and are located in the back corners of its mouth.

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