Tiger Shark or Great White?
Elusive and dangerous, the tiger shark is high on the Shark Men’s list for tagging. Little is known about these sharks and there is much research to be done. This week’s tiger shark makes a first for the team on this trip. It’s understandable that they would be excited. Everybody loves a “bad boy” and the tiger shark’s reputation for being dangerous is only outdone by the great white shark. So what makes a tiger shark different from a great white?
Hungry Like a Tiger
The tiger shark only has an obvious stripe pattern when it is young, but like the forest predator that shares its stripes and name, it is a voracious hunter. However, it doesn’t have a discriminating palate. Tiger sharks are known for a varied diet and for gulping down just about anything that could possibly be edible including license plates and tires. What it is often known for as well is its willingness to put the occasional human on the menu. While the tiger shark doesn’t seek out people for consumption, it is not a good idea to be in the wrong place at feeding time. Second only to great white sharks in human attacks, the tiger sharks can be more dangerous as they are not as willing to leave an unfinished meal.
Kinder and Gentler Great White?
The great white shark although responsible for one third to one half of shark attacks on any given year actually doesn’t seem to have much of a hankering for humans. Curious by nature, the great white’s bites seem to be a taste test which results in the great white moving on for a more appetizing meal. So we aren’t actually on the menu. The great white is however, the largest of the sharks, averaging 15 feet and sometimes growing longer than 20 feet and weighing in at a whopping 5,000 pounds. Being tasted by one is not good for your health.
The Better to Eat You With
The tiger shark is a somewhat smaller shark than the great white, but still one of the largest. The tiger shark commonly reaches a length of 10 to 14 feet, but can grow as large as 20 feet. They can also weigh between 850 and 1,900 pounds. This voracious eater may be smaller than a great white, but it has impressive and distinct teeth with curved cusps and finely serrated edges, unlike the great white’s triangular teeth. The tiger shark’s upper and lower teeth are similar in shape and size, getting smaller toward the mouth’s corners creating in an impressive bit of engineering that works equally well for grabbing and for cutting. According to these Shark Men, these nasty teeth also match a more irritable temperament than the white sharks which they are accustomed to tagging.
So which would you rather wrestle, a great white or a tiger shark? Watch this week when Shark Men tag their first tiger shark in Mexican water and decide for yourself!
Tune in Saturday, April 7th, 8 ET/PT