We have all watched our fair share of shark movies over the years, and if you are a true shark lover, you have not only binged different shark movies but can most likely differentiate between shark types and may even have a favorite.
While many choose the great white, mainly because of the iconic “JAWS” movie, many forget the infamous tiger shark. Tiger shark size is, to put it mildly, enormous—they’re some of the biggest predators in the water and a threat to just about anything that crosses their paths. Let’s learn more about these magnificent beasts!
The Infamous Size of the Tiger Shark
The tiger shark is one of the biggest sharks in the water. The tiger shark’s size ranges from 10 to 14 feet but can reach an impressive length of 18 feet. Weighing between 850 to 1,400 pounds, the tiger shark is one fierce creature. The size of tiger sharks in Hawaii could be even more significant, but no one can be certain as they are growing twice as fast as some originally thought.
Can You Tell a Tiger Shark by Its Stripes?
Yes, you really can! Tiger sharks have distinct gray vertical stripes, which cover the sides of their bodies. These distinct stripes are an easy way to identify tiger sharks. While their stripes are their defining trait, their large eyes and seemingly small snouts are other factors that can help you identify them.
Where the Sharks of Hawaii Roam
While tiger sharks can be found in numerous places, they often navigate between the main Hawaiian Islands. Maui, however, is the #1 location in Hawaii where you can find these sharks. Sharks in Hawaii are consistently spotted throughout the islands, with numerous people reporting sightings.
What are the Most Common Shark Species in Hawaii?
- White-Tip Reef Sharks
- Sandbar Sharks
- Tiger Sharks
- Hammerhead Sharks
About forty shark species make up the sharks in Hawaii, but only eight of those have been seen near the shore, and only the four listed above are the most common.
Tiger Shark Q&A
- What Do They Eat?
- Where Do They Hang?
- Who Eats Them?
- Do Humans Hunt Them?
- What Are Baby Tiger Sharks Like?
- What is Their Life Expectancy?
Do Tiger Sharks Eat Everything?
The tiger shark is not selective regarding its food preferences and will eat just about anything. Their most common prey are crabs, shellfish, lobsters, squid, small sharks, and mammals, to name a few.
The sharks that have been autopsied have been known to have nonfood items in their stomachs, including metal, plastic, and other trash. Since they don’t have preferences for their food, they have eaten humans, dolphins, other sharks, and any fish that crosses their paths. Most sharks in Hawaii aren’t picky when it comes to their food source, making it easy for them to hunt for something to eat.
Do Tiger Sharks Have a Favorite Spot in the Ocean?
Great question! While the assumption is that these sharks can be found in deeper water, primarily due to their food preferences, tiger sharks prefer to live in shallow coastal waters. They also prefer waters that have been frequented by fishing boats.
These fishing boat areas are popular spots among all sharks in Hawaii, and if you are looking to spot a shark up close, the fishing pier would be a great place to start!
Do Any Animals Eat Tiger Sharks?
Killer whales are the primary predator of the tiger shark. They are larger in both size and weight and also enjoy coastal waters, though, while there are many sharks in Hawaii, killer whales are scarce in those waters. The size of the tiger shark protects it from many different predators, making it have almost no predators at all.
Are Humans a Predator to Tiger Sharks?
While almost no animals prey on the tiger shark, humans may be considered the most significant predator to the tiger shark that exists. Humans hunt the sharks for their skin, fins, teeth, and flesh.
However, sharks in Hawaii are protected by a bill that passed, making the capturing, possessing, abusing, or killing of any shark in Hawaii illegal.
What are Baby Tiger Sharks Like?
Tiger sharks mate and can give birth to as many as 80 or more young. The size of the baby tiger shark is about 20 to 30 inches in length, and they are very skinny at birth. They are also born with striped patterns on their skin, making it easy to distinguish them as baby sharks early on. Due to the large population of sharks in Hawaii, many baby sharks have been spotted in the coastal waters.
How Long Do Tiger Sharks Live?
While it is hard to confirm their total life expectancy, since those in captivity don’t have as long of a life expectancy as those in the wild, tiger sharks in the wild have an average lifespan between 27 and 50 years. They are one of the largest species of sharks in the world.
Why Are Tiger Shark Teeth Important?
While all shark teeth are collectibles, many don’t realize how different tiger shark teeth are compared to other sharks’ teeth. Their teeth are so unique and specific to their species that it differentiates them from most other sharks altogether. For example, sharks in Hawaii have teeth designed to cut in the upper region while using the lower jaw to grab hold of whatever they are biting into.
Tiger sharks have 24 identical teeth in their upper and lower jaws. They are used for cutting and sawing, allowing them to put an immense amount of pressure on their prey. In addition, their teeth have a square shape instead of a round form, which is the standard form found in other shark teeth.
Collecting Tiger Shark Teeth
Tiger shark teeth are often collected, as are many other shark teeth. Since there is such a variety of sharks in Hawaii, many collect their teeth and often purchase them in necklaces. Whaler’s offers a large variety of shark teeth, from tiny tiger shark teeth to giant megalodon chompers, for those interested in collecting them. While tiger sharks are not rare, their teeth make for great keepsakes or additions to any collection.
The Importance of a Sharks Senses
While sharks have all five senses that humans have, they also have two extra senses. Sharks can sense electricity and vibrations in the water, which help them detect prey from far distances. In addition, tiger sharks use their senses to help them navigate the waters and survive.
7 Deadly Tiger Shark Senses
It is no secret that a shark’s sense of smell is one of its primary senses. Being able to smell one drop of blood from a quarter of a mile away and detecting that drop in a 25-gallon radius makes their sense of smell deadly to those near and far.
While their nostrils are one of their most significant assets, unlike human noses, they don’t assist with their breathing at all, as sharks breathe through their gills.
Sharks in Hawaii rely the most on their sense of hearing. Sound is known to travel faster and further underwater than above it. Sharks have been able to hear sounds over a mile away. Sharks in Hawaii rely heavily on their sense of hearing to locate prey and keep themselves aware of their surroundings.
Did you know that many people think sharks are blind or have very poor eyesight? This is a common thought; however, the truth is the complete opposite. Sharks have fantastic eyesight! Many sharks have large eyes and color vision.
Like cats who have great vision in darker areas, sharks have the same types of eyes to help them navigate the waters they live in, which have many darker areas that they need to adapt to. Sharks that live deeper in the ocean usually have larger eyes than those that live near the surface.
The taste of blood is what many think about when it comes to sharks. After all, this is how they usually find prey, right? That one drop of blood can send them into a feeding frenzy. However, tiger sharks don’t care about blood as much as other sharks in Hawaii do.
Tiger sharks are not picky at all when it comes to food and are even called the garbage cans of the sea! Their lack of pickiness allows them to eat just about anything and everything, including items that aren’t even edible.
While sharks have many senses, their sense of touch is not something they often use to their benefit. However, they can feel touch and pain all over due to so many nerve endings under their skin.
The area of a shark’s head is the most sensitive to touch. While hearing and smell help sharks know what is nearby, the stretch receptors they have underneath their skin can alert a shark to pressure within the waves created by fish!
While many may not know the exact answer to why sharks have the ability to detect electric currents, it has been proposed that sharks use their electric sense to detect the earth’s magnetic field.
Tiger sharks sense vibrations in the water, leading them to prey and making them aware of other motions in the water. For example, a fish flopping around in the water is creating vibrations as they move. A shark will sense these vibrations leading them to the fish or helping them choose to avoid the area.
Tiger Sharks and Sneak Attacks
You are probably thinking, aren’t all sharks great at sneak attacks? Most people who get bit don’t usually see them coming, right? While this is true, and sharks are great at camouflaging themselves, tiger sharks are among the most skillful hunters in the ocean.
Given the nickname “night ninjas,” tiger sharks can blend into darker shades due to being a different color on the top and bottom. As a result, they avoid being seen from above with their lighter skin color, and from below, they are a darker shade that blends them into the darker waters they may be lurking in.
Due to their sizeable upper tail fin, they can pounce on their prey at an insanely fast speed while using their heightened senses. Despite their great tiger shark size, they are able to reach speeds of up to 20 miles per hour within seconds. Furthermore, their non-picky appetite makes them lethal to anything in their path due to a lack of preference for food.
Are Tiger Sharks Responsible for Most Shark Attacks?
While shark attacks can happen in open water, Hawaii’s coastline sees sharks frequently, making shark attack incidents common around the islands. Since tiger sharks don’t care about what they are biting into, the tiger shark is responsible for more than half of the shark attack incidents reported in Hawaii. Other sharks in Hawaii are often spotted and reported but aren’t mainly known for human shark attacks like tiger sharks.
Scared of Sharks
While you may be avoiding going ocean ever again, note that it is very safe overall. While sharks in Hawaii exist and shark attacks have happened, the waters are very safe. On average, a shark in Hawaii attacks about once every 1.59 years. Many of the attacks recorded in Hawaii have not been fatal; however, if you have a fear of sharks, best to steer clear of the water for your peace of mind.
And that’s the 4-1-1 of sharks found in Hawaii. Sharks are fascinating creatures, and if you are officially hooked on all thing’s sharks, there are a lot of opportunities to start a collection of these fossilized teeth for yourself. Every shark has its own story, its own identity, and is unique.
There are still a lot of unknowns about many species of sharks, and there will always be more to learn and explore. So, enjoy the ocean, but if a lifeguard tells you to get out of the water, make sure you listen!