How Does a Tiger Shark Protect Itself?

Defense for tiger sharks centers mostly on their anatomy and their behavior. Tiger sharks get very large, up to 16 feet in length and 1,400 pounds. They also have very powerful jaws, with the sharp teeth typical of sharks.

In addition to being big, tiger sharks are also strong. They are capable of hunting and killing large marine animals such as dolphins, leatherback and green sea turtles, sea lions and even other sharks. Though shark attacks on humans are rare, many of them are committed by tiger sharks. The combination of size and strength help tiger sharks protect themselves.

Furthermore, tiger sharks use camouflage as a form of protection. Their color ranges from light green to blue with a light-colored underbelly. This means when the shark is seen from above, it blends in with the dark water. When seen from below, it blends in with the light from the surface.

Tiger sharks also exhibit behaviors that help their self-protection. They are nocturnal, so they are active when many other species are not. They retreat to lower depths in the daytime. Likewise, because of its high back and dorsal fins, a tiger shark can pivot quickly on its axis. Because of that, when confronted with danger, a tiger shark beats a hasty retreat. Before that, tiger sharks often indicate that they feel threatened by lowering their pectoral fins. This warns other animals to back off.