Species – cuvier
The genus name Galeocerdo is derived from the ancient Greek;
"γαλεος" (galeos) = Aristotle's shark and "κερδω" (kerdo) = pig.
Doesn’t really look like a pig, though, if you ask me. Not pink enough, or fierce enough. In fact… it looks more like a tiger...
I think tiger shark teeth are some of my favorite teeth. The day I find a tiger shark tooth, I will squeal of happiness. They’re super serrated, sharp and curved. This design allows for these sharks to crack into natural things like turtle shells… and not-so-natural things like suits of armor. Nicknamed “the garbage cans of the ocean,” these sharks have had anything from license plates to tar paper.
(A) The upper and lower teeth of Galeocerdo cuvier, ex Casey (1964) Bur. Sport Fish. & Wildl Circ. 179, and B) Juvenile tiger shark showing dentition.
Don’t believe me? Here are some other weird things found in their tummies:
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This sort of goes to show you how bad pollution has gotten, as some of these things definitely should not be in the ocean.
They mainly like to stick to their normal diet of turtles, marine mammals (and sometimes not marine… sorry, Fido), birds, fish and crabs. But, they’re opportunistic, grabbing at whatever they can. Like great white sharks, these animals go through a dietary shift.
Juveniles: teleost fishes, seabirds, cephalopods, crustaceans and trash.
Adults: sharks and rays, teleosts, crustaceans, seabirds, marine turtles, dolphins… and yep, still trash.
These animals are mainly solitary, only getting together when mating or when many are attracted by a bait ball or some great opportunity to feed.
Speaking of mating, the tiger shark is the only species of its family (Carcharhinidae) is ovoviviparous. Now, remember, this is when the eggs are developed inside the mother, and then have a live birth. Gestation lasts anywhere from 14 to 16 months, and females mate once every three years. Mating in the Northern Hemisphere is between March and May, giving birth between April and June the following year. In the Southern Hemisphere, mating takes place in November, December, or early January.
A popular species, they’re actually considered “Near Threatened” by the IUCN. They’re both a target species but also caught as bycatch; fished for their flesh, fins, skin, liver oil and cartilage, they can fetch a pretty penny. These sharks are also popular for recreational fishers, since they put up a good fight and are usually on the bigger side.
They're one of the most charismatic sharks out there, and if you haven't gone diving with them, I strongly suggest you do!
Here are a few pictures from my time at BBFS and when we captured tiger sharks:
Here is a pretty cool video of a tiger shark feeding on a dead whale carcass: