Sand Tiger Sharks | SHARK ACADEMY


It has perhaps the most confusing name of
any shark, and a mouthful of razor-sharp, pointy teeth! I’m Jonathan Bird, and this
is Shark Academy! It’s known by many names: the Spotted Ragged
Tooth shark, the Gray Nurse Shark, the Sand Tiger shark…but it’s not a Sand Shark, it’s
not a Tiger shark, it’s not a Nurse shark. It’s a Sand Tiger Shark. Very confusing. In spite of the fact that it’s called a Sand
Tiger shark, it’s not related to the Tiger shark at all…actually, it much more closely
related to the White shark. The Great White Shark!!! When you see a Sand Tiger shark up close,
you’ll probably notice there’s a mouth full of very intimidating-looking teeth. They’re
long, they’re skinny, and they’re pointy. These are teeth that are designed for catching
small, slippery fish. They’re not teeth designed for taking big bites. They’re designed for
just catching things and letting them not get away, so their teeth kind of act like
the barb on a fish hook. So even though they look really aggressive, they’re actually not
the type of shark that typically would bite a human. So, because this shark looks really
mean—but it’s actually not mean at all—it’s one of the most popular sharks for captivity
in aquaria. It’s one of the sharks you are most likely to see if you visit someplace
like the New England Aquarium, or the Georgia Aquarium, or the Mystic Aquarium. As you know, sharks don’t have swim bladders
so they tend to sink. Most sharks just have to deal with it by swimming along and using
their pectoral fins to keep them up off the bottom. But the Sand Tiger has evolved a very
clever way of dealing with that. They go to the surface and they gulp air into their stomachs—so
they treat their stomach almost like a swim bladder. The Sand Tiger shark is perhaps most famous
for being one of the species of sharks that undergoes a reproductive practice known as
Intrauterine Cannibalism. The female has a pair of uteruses, and each uterus starts out
with about fifty baby Sand Tiger sharks in it, but guess what? The first one that reaches
about four inches long eats all of his or her siblings! That’s the cannibalism part. So, twelve months later, after the gestation
is over and the baby sharks are born, out of fifty sharks in each uterus (that’s a hundred
sharks!) only TWO are born! That is weird! For some reason that nobody can explain, Sand
Tiger sharks love to get together (what scientists call “aggregate”) in various places around
the world. There are places off North Carolina in the United States, places off South Africa,
and places off Australia where the sharks just seem to gather at certain times of the
year. And people think they are mating or something, but nobody has ever been able to
figure out exactly what they are doing. They like to get together for human week. If you want to learn more about Sand Tiger
sharks, we did a big expedition to try to figure out what they were doing on the wrecks
off North Carolina. Click the link below and watch the adventure! Until next time, I’m Jonathan Bird and this
is Shark Academy!

14 comments

  1. Oh damn I'm going to dive cageless with these sand tiger sharks (we call these grey nurse sharks in Australia) in a couple of days. Wish me luck! Also they're docile but I wouldn't say they're not dangerous at all

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *