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National Aquarium – Sand Tiger Shark

Sand Tiger Shark

Carcharias taurus

National Aquarium – Sand Tiger Shark National Aquarium – Sand Tiger Shark National Aquarium – Sand Tiger Shark National Aquarium – Sand Tiger Shark National Aquarium – Sand Tiger Shark National Aquarium - Sand Tiger Shark  Video

Visitors react strongly to this shark! Large in size and with a mouthful of protruding spike-like teeth, this shark, like the great white shark, is the image that most people picture when they think of sharks.

The sand tiger shark's snout is narrow and flattened, the two dorsal fins and the anal fin are similar in size, and the upper lobe of the tail is much longer than the lower lobe and has a deep notch near the end.

The adult's body is light brown to gray above and paler below. Young sand tiger sharks often have small dark spots that may fade as the animals mature.

Did You Know?

This shark adjusts its buoyancy by gulping and burping air.


Although sand tigers can eat just about anything they want (and swallow it whole), like most sharks, they are not known to attack humans.


Most reliable records for this species give a maximum total length of 10.5 feet. The maximum weight is about 350 pounds.


Sand tiger sharks are widely distributed in all warm seas except the eastern Pacific.

They are found near the surface, in mid-water, and at or near the bottom to depths of 625 feet.

Population Status

Conservation alert! The sand tiger shark is listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) and is a candidate species for the U.S. endangered species list.

The sand tiger shark has one of the lowest reproductive rates known among sharks, giving birth to one or two large pups every two years.

As a result, population growth and recovery from over-fishing are slow.


Commercial and sport fisheries take a heavy toll on sand tiger sharks.

The meat is sold fresh, frozen, smoked, dried, and for fishmeal. The liver is used for oil, fins are dried for the shark fin trade, and the hide is used for leather.

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