|Image: richard ling via Flickr|
They get to some 3 to 3.4 metres (9.8 to 11.2 ft) long and part of their name comes from their habit of hunting in shallow, coastal waters. Right next to the sandy beaches where we have all our fun!
They mainly eat fish, squid and crustaceans, so they have a huge choice, but its not nice to know that gnashers like that are lurking in patches of water all over the world.
Also known as the Ragged Tooth Shark
|Image: Robertson, D Ross|
They don't stop. They just don't stop.
Sand Tigers don't often bite off more than they can chew, but that's because they prefer to swallow things whole. Big sharks need big food, and ambitious Sand Tigers may even eat dolphins! The overambitious can get into all sorts of health problems when they try to swallow more than they can swallow. Like a rich guy getting into too much debt.
But be at ease, dear reader! Two things allow us to paddle in the sea and feel reasonably safe with a Sand Tiger around. One, they are nocturnal. Two, they're actually quite docile! Shy even. And rather sluggish, too. They look significantly more perilous than they actually are. For us, anyway. Fish and squid still have a lot to worry about.
A unique feature of the Sand Tiger is that they gulp air and hold it in their stomach. It's not to help them provide us with a hilarious burp that would have the whole ocean bubbling with laughter, like when a Mafia don tells a rubbish joke. Rather it's to maintain buoyancy, allowing them to quietly stalk their prey without attracting attention.
Unfortunately there is another interesting and appalling feature of the Sand Tiger. This one really does grab attention. Apparently, it was discovered after female Sand Tigers were captured and biologists probed their bellies with their hands. I find this an extremely peculiar thing to do, but whatever... I don't know what they were hoping to find, but I sincerely doubt they were expecting to get BITTEN!
As it turns out, Sand Tiger Sharks do a little something called intrauterine cannibalism. One form of this is quite common in sharks, where the babies are fed unfertilised eggs while in the womb. Sand Tigers do that, but they also do something else.
|Image: PacificKlaus via Flickr|
Also known as the Grey Nurse Shark. I want a different nurse.
Sharks have 2 uteri and in each, there can be only one. Sand Tigers. In the womb. Kill and eat their siblings. Mother's very body veils a terrible scene of murder and a family torn apart by the fight for survival. Worse. Twin. Ever.
|Image: asw909 via Flickr|
Is this... a smile?