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Tiger Shark

Galeocerdo cuvier

Distinguishing Characteristics

Illustration of a tiger shark showing important characteristics
  • Snout bluntly rounded, much shorter than mouth width
  • Serrated teeth with deep notch on outer margins
  • Spiracles present, small
  • Adults have tiger-like vertical bars that fade with age
  • Juveniles have bluish or green-gray to black backs with dark blotches
  • Low interdorsal ridge present

Similar Species: Teeth, short snout and markings distinguish this species from all other Carcharhinids 


Maximum size about 15-18 feet in length and a weight of 2,000 pounds. Matures at approximately 7-10 years of age (about 10 feet) and is estimated to live 30+ years.


Common throughout Florida and occurs worldwide in tropical and warm-temperate waters. Found in a variety of habitats including river mouths, shallow bays, and open ocean.


Voracious feeders that will eat just about anything. Stomach contents have been reported to include sea turtles, many species of bony fish, marine birds, other sharks, porpoises, skates, rays, conchs, crabs, and garbage (for example, pieces of coal and wood, burlap bags, small barrels, cans).


Gives birth to live young after approximately 12 months of gestation. Broods contain 10-70 pups. Size at birth 27-34 inches.

Additional Information

Prohibited from commercial or recreational harvest in Florida state waters. Valuable commercial species in U.S. federal waters, with marketable flesh, hide, fins, and liver. Tiger sharks are second only to the great white shark in the number of bites on humans worldwide.

Recreational Regulations


Image Credit: © Diane Rome Peebles