The Tiger Shark, Galeocerdo cuvier, is sometimes referred to as the garbage can of the world's ocean due to their ability to scavenge and forage opportunistically. However, as you can see by this amazing photo by @oceanramsey of @juansharks in his tiger stripe @xcelwetsuits collab wetsuit coexisting with a large tiger shark we clearly aren't on the menu. Known in Hawai'i as "niuhi," they eat a wide variety of materials and animals. A nutritious diet consists of a number of different organisms that help keep tiger sharks healthy. Did you know that with age, a tiger shark's diet changes? As a juvenile, G. cuvier feeds on mainly bony fish which makes up most of their diet, but they will also feed on birds, octopi and squid. As a subadult, G. Cuvier also eats mainly bony fish which still makes up a large portion of its diet. Subadult tiger sharks also consume other sharks and rays, birds, crustaceans, land mammals, octopi, squid, and sea turtles. An adult G. Cuvier feeds on mainly birds, other sharks and rays, and crustaceans. Full grown tiger sharks also eat many bony fish, certain terrestrial mammals, sea turtles, octopi, squid, and some marine mammals. With an increase in size and age, tiger sharks expand their diet to more challenging, larger prey (Crow & Crites 2002). As a scavenger, tiger sharks tend to investigate possible prey that could simply be our trash. In Hawai'i, strange stomach contents inside a niuhi have included a raincoat, a chicken coop, a sack of potatoes, a driver's license, and coal (Crow & Crites 2002). As opportunistic predators, tiger sharks should not be ingesting random materials such as chicken coops! Consuming nutritious, natural prey items versus our garbage can help keep our systems in balance. Help keep the ocean free from our trash to help keep tiger sharks healthy. By recycling, minimizing single-use plastics, and volunteering at beach clean ups, tiger sharks have a better chance at staying healthy and keeping our oceans healthy by using top-down control of the food web!
Post by @d.guerin8
Photo by @oceanramsey