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Range / Habitat

  • Occurs in the Western Atlantic from Canada and the Gulf of Maine to Argentina and in the Eastern Atlantic from the Mediterranean to Cameroon. In the Indo-West Pacific from the Red Sea and the South African coast east to Japan, Korea and Australia. Absent from the Eastern Pacific.
  • Found in shoreline habitats to depths of about 625 feet (190 m).  

Physical Characteristics

  • Brownish-gray with rust-colored spots on the back and white underneath.
  • Spots fade as the animal matures.
  • Displays a mouthful of sharp teeth that protrude in all directions, even when the mouth is closed. Despite its menacing appearance, it is a docile and non-aggressive species.
  • Narrow, flattened, cone-shaped snout and very small eyes.
  • Ranges in length from 6.5 to 10.5 feet (2.0-3.2 m) and may weigh 200 to 350 lbs. (91-159 kg).

Diet / Feeding

  • Diet consists of bony fishes, smaller sharks, rays, squid, crabs and lobsters.

Reproduction / Growth

  • Lowest reproductive rate among sharks, giving birth every two years to one or two pups after a gestation period of 9 to 12 months.
  • This shark is ovoviviparous. The embryos initially are nourished by the yolk in their egg and later consume slower-developing embryos while still in their mother's uterus.
  • Sand tiger shark pups are three feet long at birth.

Conservation Status

  • “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List.
  • Not listed under CITES.
  • Population likely declining at a rate of 30 percent or more every ten years.
  • Sand tiger sharks are a prohibited species for recreational and commercial fishermen in NOAA’s Highly Migratory Species Compliance Guide.
  • Current threats include accidental mortality due to by-catch.

Additional Information

  • Only shark species that swims to the surface and swallows air in order to regulate its buoyancy. This enables it to remain motionless at any depth while seeking prey.

Sources

www.fishbase.org
www.marinebio.com
www.animals.nationalgeographic.com
www.aqua.org/animals-sandtigershark