Tiger Shark Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Kristina Washington-Morris

Kristina has taught a variety of elementary classes and has a master's degree in elementary education.

Ever wonder how tiger sharks got their name? Though just as dangerous as a tiger, these sharks weren't named because of a relation to the lethal, large cats. In this lesson we'll explore tiger sharks and interesting facts about this ocean predator.

What Are Tiger Sharks?

Though their name can be misleading, tiger sharks are not related to the tigers of the large cat family. Tiger sharks are actually large predatory fish of the ocean. They get their name from the black stripes they are born with along their back. These stripes resemble the stripes on a tiger's back. It may be hard to notice the stripes on an adult tiger shark because the black lines fade as the shark ages.

A Young Tiger Shark
young tiger shark

Great white sharks often get most of the attention in movies and television as being the largest, deadliest sharks of the ocean, but tiger sharks are nearly as large and lethal! Tiger sharks can grow to be over 15 feet long and 1,800 pounds. That is as large as a pick-up truck! Tiger sharks can swim as fast as a truck too. These sharks are known for swimming 20 miles per hour and traveling extremely far distances.

Like many other species of sharks, tiger sharks have very powerful jaws lined with serrated teeth. Serrated teeth are sharp teeth with edges like a saw. These teeth are so strong they can pierce a sea turtle's shell. If a tiger shark loses a tooth while biting into something tough, a new tooth will grow in its place. This is a feature that keeps tiger sharks a top predator of the ocean.

A Tiger Shark Tooth
tiger shark tooth

What Do Tiger Sharks Eat?

Tiger sharks are carnivores because they eat other animals, including fish, seals, other sharks, dolphins, sea turtles, sea snakes, and birds. Some people even call tiger sharks waste baskets of the ocean. This is because tiger sharks will try to eat many different items found in the sea. Tires, license plates, GPS systems, shoes and other ocean trash are some of the things tiger sharks have been found eating! Tiger sharks are not picky eaters and will even swallow some items whole.

Where Do Tiger Sharks Live?

Tiger sharks are saltwater fish that prefer warmer ocean water. They can be found all over the world in, most often in tropical regions. Tiger sharks are often seen in shallow shores near land, but can also swim across whole oceans. They live on their own for the majority of their life and will swim wherever they can find warm water and food.

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