Shark Species

How Fast is a Tiger Shark?

How Fast is a Tiger Shark

The longest-living creatures of the ocean, the Sharks have more than 500 species. These species are known for their sharp teeth, strong bites, powerful jaws, and impressive speed. They are the best predators as their bodies are built for burst speeds. The speed of the Sharks varies from species to species; some sharks can swim at a slower pace while some are capable of devastating bursts while attacking their prey. The small and streamlined Sharks have more speed compared to the larger and bulkier Sharks.

Tiger Sharks are the most dangerous species of Sharks and are responsible for the greatest number of attacks on people. They are the apex predators, and they eat anything that comes around them. The Tiger Sharks are the top predators, and the distinctive feature of these species is their speed.

In this guide, we will discuss the following in detail:

What Are Tiger Sharks?

Tiger Sharks are fierce and dangerous hunters; they are known for their distinctive patterns (Tiger-like markings on their bodies). They have gray bodies with dark gray stripes; these lines fade away as they grow older. They have strong and powerful senses of smell and sight. They commonly reach a length of 14 feet and are considered one of the largest sharks in the world.

Scientific Name: Galeocerdo Cuvier

Size: 10 to 14 feet

Weight: 850 to 1400 lbs

Diet: Sea turtles, dolphins, fish, other sharks, rays, and crustaceans. 

Life Span: 30+ years

Habitat: Various habitats, including tropical waters

Tiger Sharks mostly live in coastal waters, in tropical and subtropical oceans. Despite the size of these Sharks, they are ambush predators. The Tiger Sharks have a diverse diet compared to the other Sharks. They feed on other Fish, Sea birds, Dolphins, Seals, Crabs, and Lobsters.

How Fast Do Sharks Swim?

The Sharks have excellent speed making them effective predators and they use their speed and agility to attack the prey. The speed of Sharks depends on the species, but they are quicker swimmers compared to other marine animals. They can travel at a maximum speed of 80 kph or 60 miles per hour in the ocean. Just like the Lion and Tiger on earth, they are designed for short bursts to attack their prey.

The Shortfin mako Shark has a swimming speed of 31mph (50 kph) and is the fastest known Shark species. They have short bursts of 46 mph and can reach a maximum swimming speed of 60mph. These species mostly dwell in the tropical and warm temperate waters. 

The Greenland Shark is the slowest-moving shark with a speed of 1mph. It mostly lives in the cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

What Factors Affect the Speed of Shark?

The Sharks are agile swimmers but not all Sharks swim with the maximum speed; Their speed depends on the following factors:

1: Size of the Shark

The small Sharks with streamlined bodies have more speed as compared to the large Sharks with bulkier bodies. The average size of Shortfin mako is 6.5 to 7 feet but they are the fastest swimming Sharks with an average speed of 31 mph. The average size of Whale Shark is more than 40 feet, and they are slow swimmers, swimming not more than 3 miles per hour. You can read more information about the speed of the Whale Shark in this guide.

2: Water Condition

The water condition also affects the speed of the Sharks. In the open ocean, they swim at maximum speed as there are few obstacles while in shallow water, they are unable to reach their maximum speed.

3: Activity

Another factor that affects the speed of the sharks is their activity. They move in short bursts with maximum speed when they are attacking their prey, and they swim at a low pace when cruising.

How Fast Can a Tiger Shark Swim?

The Tiger Sharks often swim at a slower speed. They can cruise at a relaxed pace of 2mph to 3mph. They conserve their energy while cruising in search of food. This speed provides the stamina to Tiger Sharks to travel a thousand miles.

These Sharks swim faster while attacking their prey like the Tiger Sharks can swim with a maximum speed of 20mph or 32 kph. The maximum speed of the Tiger Sharks is five times faster than the cruising speed and they are faster than the Olympic swimmers. This speed is because of their pectoral fin, long tails, and warm water. They also short bursts at their top speed to catch fast-moving prey like Sea turtles, Seals, and Tuna. 

Speed Comparison of Tiger Shark With Other Sharks

Many Shark species can swim at exceptional speeds and these species use their speeds to seize the prey. The Tiger shark is fifth on the shark speed comparison table. They are slower than Shortfin mako, Great White Shark, and Blue Shark. The maximum speed of other Sharks is:

  • Shortfin Mako is the fastest Shark with an average known speed of 31 mph (50 kph).
  • Great White Shark has a top swimming speed of 25mph with short bursts of 40kph. The speed of these Sharks is greater than the speed of the human swimmer.
  • The Blue shark has a maximum swimming speed of 24.5 mph or 39.4 kph.


The Sharks are the frightful and robust hunters of their prey. Their bodies are built to enhance their speeds. The speed of one shark is different from the other Shark. The Tiger Sharks cruise at the slow speed of 3 mph and move with a maximum speed of 20mph. The speed of these Sharks increases while attacking their prey. The speed of Tiger Sharks is less than the Shortfin Mako (the fastest-moving shark), Blue Shark, Nurse Shark, and Great White Shark.

The Tiger Sharks are nearly threatened due to the targeted and non-targeted fisheries as they are heavily harvested for their skin, fins, and livers which contain a high quantity of vitamin A.

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