Sand Tiger


Appearance: Large shark with a flattened-conical snout. Body is compressed-cylindrical and moderately stout. First and second dorsal fin are equal sized with a broad base. Origin of first dorsal fin well behind the free rear ends of the pectoral fins. Origin of second dorsal fin slightly ahead of anal fin"s origin. Anal fin is approximately the same size as the two dorsal fins. Upper caudal pit is present. Teeth are very prominent, with large narrow cusps and lateral cusplets.

Coloration: Light brown upper body, white ventral. Often has darker reddish or somewhat brownish spots scattered over the body.

Distribution: Western Atlantic: Gulf of Maine to Florida, northern Gulf of Mexico, Bahamas, Bermuda, southern Brazil to Argentina.

Biology: A common species that lives in wide environmental conditions, from shallow bays to more than 600 ft. depths over the outer shelves. They often occur around coral and rocky reefs, and are found near the bottom but also in midwater or at the surface. This shark can live solitary as well as in small and large schools. This shark gulps air in order to be neutrally buoyant.

Feeding: Feeds on a large variety of bony fishes, as well as small sharks, squids and lobsters. These sharks have been observed to feed cooperatively, surrounding and bunching schooling prey and then feeding on them.

Size: Maximum size about 10.5 ft., average size around 8.5 ft. Reproduction: Aplacental viviparous species (ovoviviparous). This species possesses intra-uterine cannibalism where embryos feed on other embryos and egg capsules. This makes them much bigger at the time of birth (and already experienced in feeding). Therefore litter size is always 2 pups, one in each uterine compartment. Size at birth about 3.2 ft. Males and females reach sexual maturity with a minimum length of about 7 ft. Gestation period may be 8 to 9 months. Sandtiger sharks form mating aggregations.

Similar species: None

Population Status: Threatened. Several countries, including the U. S., have designated it a protected species.

Danger to humans: Despite its formidable appearance, the Sand Tiger is docile and not considered to be dangerous.