caretta caretta turtle

We’re celebrating Shark Week with one of the Museum’s iconic dioramas.

The tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier) is one of the largest and most recognizable sharks. It is covered with dark spots as a juvenile, which merge into stripes as it grows older and then eventually fade. Its powerful jaws and teeth are especially useful in hunting large animals such as loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta), but it will eat almost anything and has the most varied diet of any shark.

Like many other sharks and rays, tiger sharks do not lay eggs but give birth to live young. With up to 80 pups per litter, tiger sharks may be more resilient than most sharks to overfishing, but their numbers are nevertheless in decline.

Tiger sharks are found near warm-water shores throughout the world. Though they sometimes range farther out to sea, they prefer river mouths, bays, piers and coral reefs.

Size: adults average 400 to 600 kilograms, but can exceed 900 kg (2,000 lbs)
Life span: up to 50 years
Closest relatives: other sharks and rays
Food: fish, turtles, mammals, birds, snakes crabs, clams
Fun Fact: Tiger sharks will swallow anything, including license plates, bottles, cans and burlap bags

Find this diorama in the Museum’s Milstein Hall of Ocean Life.