The name of this shark suggests the image of the tiger, a great raider to the vertexes of the food chain that lives in the forest, well recognizable for its massive structure and the elegant mantle with black stripes.. 

The tiger shark is similar to his "colleague" that live in the land, of which the shark takes back the name: also he is a great raider, it doesn't have practically natural enemies and, in the youngest samples, on the back there are well marked transversal dark stripes..

This is only the beginning of a series of physical and behavioral characteristics that make the tiger shark.. a very particular shark. 

Its dimensions can overcome the seven meters of length and the shark is present in all the tropical and moderate waters of the globe.  It is found both in coastal waters and in wpelagic waters, up to 140 meters deep and it can also push in estuaries and inside the lagoons of the coral barriers.  The tiger shark is also sighted in proximity of the ports and next to the beaches to few meters deep. 

It is not well certain if it also swims in the Mediterranean waters, some sightings and events of the past, unfortunately tragic, tied up to attacks to the man, leave still doubts on the presence of the tiger shark in the Mediterranean Sea. 


The tiger shark is the only shark belonging to the family of the Carcharhinidae to be ovoviviparous (viviparous without placenta), the males reach the sexual maturity to around 2 meters length, the females to 2,5 meters and they can give birth from 10 to 80 children. 

During the day the shark remains to elevated depth while, toward the twilight, it goes up again in more superficial waters to look for his preys. The tiger shark is a solitary animal and often swims slowly, but the animal is able of accelerations and mighty releases during the attacks. 

The behaviour of this great raider is different from that of the most greater part of the sharks, the nickname that has been given to him, "street sweeper of the seas", can suggest what are we speaking about.. 

The tiger shark in fact seems to be attracted by anything stirs around him, seen as a potential prey and show from the point of view of feeding a low selectivity, that brings him to attach in different occasions (and to swallow) animate objects and not.  In his stomach rests of garments have been found, wood pieces, cans, plates of automobiles, whole shells, organic rests of fishes, turtle, crocodiles, invertebrate, birds and sea mammals and.. human rests. 

This raider of the seas is considered, together with the white shark, one of the most dangerous sharks towards the man and unfortunately numerous attacks have been signalled, also deadly, to underwater fishermen and divers. 

Despite this situation the tiger shark doesn't have to be considered as an animal in perennial search of food and always with the desire to swallow anything, even if the biologists recognize indeed in this kind, more than in others, a greater curiosity and "initiative" towards all of this that appears to his sight.  These characteristics manifests in the tendency to draw near to the objects that arouse the curiosity of this animal and to come into contact with a bite of "taste", that is one of the methods with which the sharks realize what they founded.. 

Is documented that the stomach of the tiger shark has the possibility to maintain unchanged organic residues for weeks, as in a "refrigerator."  

This characteristic will remain proper of the tiger shark and unforgettable after the diffusion, in different volumes that treat of sharks, of the episode "of the tattooed arm", presumably happened in 1935. 

An Australian sharks fisherman in the 1935 capture with his fishing-line a tiger shark of around four meters and the animal, not having suffered particular damages from the capture, is surrended to the aquarium of Cogee (Sydney). The shark is inserted in a great fish pond to the open one he seems to quickly get used to the captivity. 
After some days however the shark starts to give signs of stress, not feeding himself more and contracting in violent and visible way the stomach. 
The contractions finish with the rejection of a human arm characterized by a tattoo, that allows the local police to identify its owner, called James Smith. 
The police discovers that this person had been killed and throw in sea.  The shark had swallowed the arm of the victim and it was preserved for days inside his stomach!


The histories and the stories are different about the tiger shark, true or presumed such, but the fact is that this animal is very dangerous towards the man.. 

This aggressiveness, very marked, drift also from his "weapons": notable dimensions, in average around the 4-5 meters, but not rarely superior to the six or seven meters and a thick body endowed with great strength physics in the swimming, in the release and in the bite. 

The tiger shark teeth are hard and sharp as razors, they have a characteristic form to cockscomb with a pointed central part and curved parts serrate able to cut very resistant objects, also the carapace (pod) of the sea turtle!



Tiger shark photos are realized in Sharm el Sheikh, to the depth of 60 m
by Federico Forletta and gently granted for this article.

E' assolutamente vietata la riproduzione, anche parziale, del testo e delle
 foto presenti in questo articolo, senza il consenso dell'autore

Marco Angelozzi -