Bull sharks vs. Tiger sharks! These two sharks are always known for their aggression. However, they have some differences in their anatomy, habitat, food habits, etc. And in this article, we will explore all these sectors one by one. So, read on.
Before we dive into details let’s have a look at the key factor of differences-
|Differentiate Factor||Bull Sharks||Tiger Sharks|
|Size||7-11 Feet||10-14 Feet|
|Weight||200-500 Pounds||280-1400 Pounds|
|Appearance||Have Torpedo-shaped body with a short snout.||Have a sleek body with an extended snout.|
|Colour||Grey hues on top and white underneath.||Blue-green skin with dark markings and pale-yellowish underbelly.|
|Habitat||Worldwide all oceans; prefer warm water; can live in both saltwater and freshwater.||Worldwide all tropical and subtropical oceans; can live only in saltwater.|
Bull Shark Vs. Tiger Shark: Anatomical Differences
The bull shark and the tiger shark both belong to the Order Carcharhiniforms, which are made up of ground sharks or bottom-dwellers. The bull shark belongs to the family Carcharhinidae, while the tiger shark is part of the family Galeocerdo Cuvier.
Bull sharks possess a torpedo-shaped anatomy with a short snout to accommodate the little space found in their shallow water habitats. Generally, bull sharks measure between 7-11 feet and weigh an average of 200-500 pounds.
Their robust body and head have grey hues on top and white underneath, allowing for powerful swimming abilities. To hunt prey, these predators are fitted with sharp teeth that can easily strip flesh from bone.
In contrast, with their sleek bodies and extended snouts, tiger sharks (the second most intimidating predators in the sea) are perfectly equipped to thrive in deep waters. Their blue-green skin is decked with darker markings that resemble a “tiger,” while their underbelly has a pale-yellow hue.
Tiger sharks can range in size from 10-14 feet long and weigh anywhere between 280-1,400 lbs. They have an impressive set of sharp interlocking teeth designed for cutting through tough materials such as hard shells and bones. Their large top fins help them make rapid turns in pursuit of prey, helping them become one of the greatest hunters in their surrounding environment.
Another big difference between bull and tiger sharks is their reproductive behaviour. Bull sharks are ovoviviparous, meaning that eggs are laid and retained within the mother’s body until they hatch inside her uterus before she gives birth to live young. In comparison, tiger sharks are viviparous, whereby embryos develop inside the mother’s uterus before being born alive at full term as pups.
As a fierce apex predator, the bull shark is found in many warm waters around the world. It prefers to remain near coastal areas with depths only reaching up to 100 feet. However, it has been observed journeying into deeper open ocean locations.
The Atlantic bull sharks have extended their presence from Massachusetts all the way down south to Brazil and both sides of Africa from Morocco through Angola. Conversely, Pacific region inhabitants are witnessed ranging between Mexico and Chile, while Australasia also provides an abode for these creatures.
Tiger sharks are also highly abundant in tropical and subtropical seas across the world, especially off of North America’s, South America’s, Africa’s, China’s, India’s, and Australasia’s coasts.
After sundown, tiger sharks tend to remain closer to shore, but in some daytime, they wander into much deeper waters ranging from 800-3000 feet deep. It is not unusual for these sea creatures to migrate towards cooler depths during summer months, such as July or August, due to either mating reasons or hunting opportunities.
Tiger sharks have been known to follow oceanic currents long distances, upwelling nutrients that allow them access to new feeding grounds while providing them with protection from predators.
If we speak about water preference, bull sharks can tolerate brackish/saltwater and freshwater environments. Even they can live their whole life in freshwater. On the other hand, tiger sharks live in only salt water. They can’t survive in freshwater.
When it comes to predation differences between bull sharks and tiger sharks, there are very slight variations. Both species are apex predators that feed on a variety of marine animals such as fish, turtles, seabirds, and other small invertebrates. Despite these similarities, there are still notable differences in their dietary habits.
The Bull shark is unique among other species in its ability to adapt to a wide range of salinity levels and habitats. This makes them highly versatile hunters. They will often take advantage of any opportunity to feed on fish or other animals living in the area.
They also have an impressive array of attack strategies which involve using their powerful tails to launch themselves at unsuspecting prey. While their diet consists primarily of smaller fish, they have been known to hunt larger mammals such as dolphins and sea lions.
The Tiger shark is primarily an ambush predator which prefers to wait for its prey rather than actively hunting it out. As such, they tend to feed primarily on small fish or other prey that come close enough for them to attack without having to move around too much in search of food.
They also favour taking larger animals like turtles and sea lions when given the opportunity due to the greater nutritional reward offered by these larger meals.
When it comes down to it, both Bull sharks and Tiger Sharks are formidable predators who play an important role in maintaining the balance of life in the marine ecosystem they inhabit.
Although they both share some similar traits when it comes to their predation habits, slight differences can be seen in their diets based on each species’ individual characteristics and behaviour patterns when hunting for food.
When it comes to attacking records, bull sharks and tiger sharks are often compared with one another. Bull sharks typically rank third in terms of attack frequency, while tiger sharks usually come in second.
While the great white shark has been responsible for more attacks than both of these species combined, this doesn’t change the fact that both bull and tiger sharks can be extremely dangerous when provoked.
Bull sharks have been responsible for 95 non-fatal and 26 fatal “unprovoked” attacks on humans. This makes them the third most dangerous species when it comes to attacking humans, just behind the great white shark and the tiger shark.
Despite their smaller size, they are incredibly powerful predators that have been known to hunt in areas with a high population of humans, such as shallow rivers and estuaries.
On the other hand, tiger sharks have caused even more fatalities than bull sharks, with a total number of 102 non-fatal and 36 fatal unprovoked attacks on humans. They are among some of the largest predatory fishes in the world, with massive jaws filled with razor-sharp teeth. They primarily hunt their prey near shorelines but have also ventured further into deep waters, where they primarily feed on large fish and marine mammals such as seals and dolphins.
These sobering numbers show us that while these amazing creatures can indeed be dangerous if provoked, they remain statistically quite harmless when it comes to attacking humans.
In fact, throughout all of history, there have only been a few dozen fatalities reported due to unprovoked shark attacks, while millions of sharks are slaughtered by humans every year for food or sport fishing activities alone.
So, it’s up to us to make sure we’re safe when swimming in open water. For example, we shouldn’t swim at night or at dawn, we shouldn’t wear bright clothes or jewellery, we should avoid murky water or places where people may be fishing or spearfishing, and we shouldn’t splash around too much, which could draw the attention of marine predators.
Bull and tiger sharks are both powerful predators that serve an essential role in keeping the marine ecosystem they live in balanced. While there may be some slight distinctions between the two species’ biological makeup and behaviours, make no mistake – these apex hunters can be incredibly dangerous for humans to encounter.
Therefore, it is highly advised to take extra precautions when entering open waters to avoid potential confrontations with underwater predators.