Sand Tiger Shark


Overview — Shallow waters are the sand tiger shark’s preferred domains, but they will often dive to 656 feet in their range, which includes the Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, eastern and western Atlantic Ocean, and Mediterranean and Adriatic seas.

This shark arguably is the fiercest-looking fish in the world. Its long teeth seem to overtake its mouth. The toothy effect gains even more emphasis due to the fact that this shark frequently swims with its mouth open, making it look like it is about to bite anything in sight. Its appearance is deceiving, however, as the sand tiger shark is usually not a danger to humans unless provoked.

The battle waged inside a mother during her gestation tells another story. Because embryos develop at different stages, the resulting offspring compete with each other before the mother gives birth. The largest, with teeth already developed, ends up consuming all of the other eggs and embryos. Exemplifying survival of the fittest, this larger embryo then develops to become the mother’s sole offspring.

Feeding Habits — Groups of these sharks have been spotted surrounding schools of bluefish and attacking nets full of them. Other fish in the shark’s diet include menhaden, cunners, mackerel, skates, silver hake, flounders, alewives, butterfish, scup, weakfish and bonito. Virtually all hunting occurs at night.

Cool Fact — Sand tiger sharks can achieve buoyancy by storing surface air in their balloon-like stomachs.

Common Max Depth — 656 feet

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