Q:

What are the characteristics of a tiger shark vs. a great white?

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Quick Answer

Great white sharks grow up to 21 feet long, have a lifespan of approximately 70 years and live in all the world's oceans. In contrast, tiger sharks grow to about 16 feet, have a lifespan of approximately 50 years and are only found in temperate climates, especially around islands in the Pacific. Though somewhat visually similar, the tiger shark also has characteristic tiger-stripe markings, though these are often faded in mature adults.

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Full Answer

Although great white sharks are responsible for most deaths of people from shark bites, tiger sharks can be more dangerous. They swim slowly to sneak up on their prey before attacking with a burst of energy. They are insatiable eaters and refuse to leave a partially eaten meal. Humans are not natural prey for great whites, and most of this species' human bites are exploratory before the shark swims away to find other food. While tiger sharks don't seek out humans for consumption, their attacks are more likely to be fatal. They rank second, behind great whites, in the number of shark attacks on humans.

Tiger sharks' coloring makes them a particularly dangerous predator. On top, they are blue to light green, and they have a light-colored belly. This coloring camouflages the tiger shark to prey, whether from above or below. Both tiger sharks and great whites are considered to be vulnerable species because humans reduce their population by fishing.

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