Tiger Shark Location: Where Do Tiger Sharks Live?

Written by Emmanuel Kingsley
Published: August 12, 2022
Image Credit Michael Rothschild/Shutterstock.com
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Tiger sharks are one of the most aggressive creatures that eat almost anything. In this aspect, you can say that they share a certain similarity with the usual tigers. These sharks also have some stripes similar to the ones on tigers. However, that’s just about where those similarities stop. Unlike land tigers, tiger sharks live in warm, temperate areas. 

Notwithstanding, tiger sharks are one of the most unpredictable and opportunistic animals. If you have ever wondered where tiger sharks live, you’re at the right place for answers. This article aims to teach you everything you need to know about tiger shark location.

Where Do Tiger Sharks Live?

What do tiger sharks eat - feeding a tiger shark
Tiger sharks prefer murky waters in coastal areas like Southern Florida.

Tomas Kotouc/Shutterstock.com

Tiger sharks live majorly in tropical and subtropical areas. These include areas between North America and Brazil, in the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea. Tiger sharks have also been found in locations like China, India, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, Florida, etc. In other words, this animal has a remarkable tolerance for various marine habitats. 

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However, they prefer murky waters in coastal areas like Southern Florida. So, it’s not only crocodiles you should fear when you see dirty, shallow coastal waters. There might be some tiger sharks hiding there too. They are known to spend most of their time near water surfaces, about 5 meters deep from the surface. However, many of them dive as deep as 1,150 feet. Studies have also shown that one tiger shark has been encountered at a depth of 2,716 feet. 

Notwithstanding, tiger sharks are known to move around a lot. Some have traveled large distances and braved hurricanes for a good meal. That’s why many offshore fishers have come across these species in Canadian waters. Some get lucky enough to have these animals as their big catch. In their movement, some tiger sharks are encountered in shallow areas around large island chains, including the lagoons and the coasts of oceanic islands. 

Like birds, tiger sharks also migrate for the winter. Since they prefer warm areas, it’s hard for them to survive in cold regions. Ideally, tiger sharks can only survive in locations where the temperature is around 71 degrees Fahrenheit (22 degrees Celsius). So, you’ll rarely see tiger sharks in their usual spots in the winter. Instead, they move into temperate waters in other regions and return to their normal location during the summer. 

How Long Do Tiger Sharks Live?

Tiger Shark
Many tiger sharks live for an average of 27 years in the wild.

iStock.com/Sean Craft

Generally, tiger sharks live for about fifteen years. Many have also been known to live for an average of twenty-seven years in the wild. However, some of them live for about fifty years or more. But this number can be altered by various factors. One of such factors is whether or not they’re living in captivity. Like other animals, tiger sharks in captivity don’t live long, surviving for just seventeen to twenty years. 

Most tiger sharks mate in the Northern Hemisphere, which usually occurs between March and May, while the female sharks give birth between April and June the following year. In the Southern Hemisphere, mating happens either in November, December, or early January. Like the nurse shark species, the tiger shark has an ovoviviparous nature. Therefore, its eggs hatch internally and are usually born live. While in the womb, their young receive nourishment through a process called embryotrophy. They gestate in sacks that are filled with a fluid that nourishes them. This fluid allows them to increase drastically in size even though they’re not connected to their mother through a placenta.

Most tiger sharks grow between 11 and 14 feet long and between 800 and 1,400 pounds in weight. Unlike humans, female tiger sharks are bigger than male tiger sharks. Research shows that the largest recorded female tiger shark was 18 feet long.

How Many Tiger Sharks Are Left In The World?

Records show that there are about one billion sharks around the world. However, there hasn’t been any specific record of how many tiger sharks are among this number. Instead, records show that this animal is nearly becoming extinct. Sharks have been known to be apex predators and at the top of the food chain. So, their extinction can tilt the balance of organisms in marine ecosystems.

Records from the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) show that tiger sharks are not endangered now. However, they can be considered near-threatened. This is mainly because these species are usually victims of bycatch. This means they unintentionally get caught by fishers with other species in mind.

Tiger Shark Adaptations

Largest Tiger Shark - tiger shark close up
Tiger sharks eat almost anything, including other sharks.

Tiger sharks have certain qualities that serve as tools to help them survive underwater. These are known as adaptations. One such adaptation is their teeth. Their teeth have ridges to help them grab their prey and also allow their jaws to expand if their prey is too big. In addition, any broken tooth in the feeding process grows back speedily. This way, they never run out of teeth.

Other adaptations include their caudal fins and upper lobe. They serve as propellers to help tiger sharks swim fast to protect themselves from danger or catch their prey. Tiger sharks also have lateral lines on their bodies which helps them sense movement in the water. This helps them locate and capture prey easily.

Finally, the most vital adaptation tiger sharks have is their gills. It gives them the ability to breathe underwater. Therefore, they don’t have to go to the surface frequently for air, leaving them less vulnerable to predators. 

Tiger Shark

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