When you think of the dangerous shark species, the tiger shark is one of the few that come into everyone’s mind. The name itself says a lot about the species, and it justifies by the fact that the tiger shark holds the record for most attacks on humans after the great white sharks. Though shark attacks are not so common these days, one wonders if they do still target them and what tiger sharks eat in general.
Sharks are unbelievably amazing creatures of the oceans inhabited for thousands of years. With over 500 species discovered so far, they each comprise different attributes, traits, and qualities. People considered sharks as giant beasts with hundreds of sharp teeth and large mouths capable of swallowing humans; they thought they all eat humans. However, this is completely absurd.
Sharks come in all different sizes and shapes and have varied food preferences. Aside from having a diverse diet, they also have different behavior toward humans. Not all sharks are dangerous, but only a few species are, and one of them is the tiger shark.
Before we look into the details of what do tiger sharks eat, it should be clear that humans are not included in their diet. Rather, they do not like to come in contact with humans, and most shark attacks occur as a result of human provocation.
On the other hand, tiger sharks face a threat of extinction and are declared a near-threatened species by the IUCN. The major threat comes from the humans as they are killed in large numbers to get their meat, fins, and liver. Populations of several species have declined where they were heavily fished, and continued demand for fins could lead to further losses.
As apex predators, tiger sharks have an vital role to play when it comes to keeping an equilibrium in the marine ecosystem. The importance of sharks cannot be neglected as their extinction would result in severe repercussions for the whole world.
Moving forward, in a step towards their conservation, knowing about the species’ food preferences is vital. Therefore, this article is going to look into what do tiger sharks eat. So, let’s get straight into it.
Tiger sharks diet
Sharks are generally believed to eat anything that comes in their way or fits in their mouth. However, this is not exactly the case; they all have different food preferences.
Tiger sharks, being apex predators, have the same reputation for eating anything that is available at the time. Well, in this case, it’s partially true since tiger sharks are non-selective feeders and consume a wide range of marine creatures and even some terrestrial animals.
In the early stages, the tiger sharks eat small fishes, mollusks, and other tiny creatures; however, their selection expands as they grow. Male tiger sharks reach sexual maturity when they are about 8 to 9 feet, whereas the female matures when they are about 9 to 12 feet in length.
As the tiger sharks become adults, they start preying on larger animals, including marine mammals. Due to their predatory behavior, they get their mouths on dolphins, sea lions, sea turtles, large fish, rays, and even other sharks.
Other common targets include squid, crabs, marine birds, skates, and lobsters. Injured whales have also been attacked by tiger sharks. Remember that the only known predator of tiger sharks are the killer whales, aka Orcas.
Sometimes killer whales force sharks to the surface, flipping their bodies in order to drown them, after which they rip off their fins to eat.
Do you know what happens when a shark is upside down?
Sharks are often afraid of dolphins, but even the dolphins avoid regions where tiger sharks are present in large numbers.
Tiger sharks are no doubt powerful creatures, and they are able to target large mammals all because of their serrated teeth and heavily calcified jaws. Additionally, it detects faint traces of blood from miles away by using its acute sense of smell and excellent eyesight.
Aside from the marine creatures, terrestrial animals are also not safe from becoming a target of tiger sharks. Horses, goats, sheep, dogs, or cats, tiger sharks can attack and will consume all.
Since now you know about what do tiger sharks eat, do you have an idea of some of the other well-known shark species? If not, find out by clicking the names below.
- Mako sharks
- Leopard sharks
- Basking sharks
- Red tail sharks
Do tiger sharks eat humans?
In light of the tiger shark’s aggressive nature and the fact that they have attacked more humans after the great white, it is common to wonder if they will eat humans. Often, they visit shallow water, rivers, and canals, where more human activity occurs, making them more likely to encounter humans.
With that being said, the bite rate is minimal, and in most cases, the shark attacks when provoked by humans. So, if you do not incite them in any way, they will probably go away.
Tiger sharks are known for their aggressive and indiscriminate feeding style, so much so that they will eat inedible objects. However, when it comes to their food preference, tiger sharks have the widest food spectrum of all sharks, as they will eat anything from crustaceans, rays, skates, birds, sea snakes, dolphins, or even other sharks.
Having said that, humans are not on the list of their primary targets, but only if provoked will you be in severe danger. So, do not try to block their way and let them live in their natural habitat peacefully.