Ever heard of a "sand shark"? It isn't a real thing. But sand tiger sharks (Carcharias taurus) are! They are also known as gray nurse sharks and look pretty ferocious look with their teeth that protrude even when their mouth is closed (it rarely is). Don't let that face - or the teeth! - scare you off. it is actually a pretty non-aggressive... until you bug it. Then, like any other animal, it will strike.
They usually measure at about 6.5 to 10.5 ft (1.9 to 3.2 m) and weight anywhere from 200 to 350 lbs (90 to 159 kg). A brownish-gray color on top and a creamy underbelly underneath, they have dark spots that cover their bodies. They have a cone-shaped snout and a very identifiable oblong tail with an upper lobe that is significantly longer than the lower lobe.
These sharks can be seen near our shores in warm or temperate waters throughout the world (except the eastern Pacific). #Finfact: Sand tiger sharks come to the surface and gulp in air! This air gets stores in their stomachs. Now remember how sharks don't have swim bladders, so they can float motionlessly? Well this allows them to do just that as they seek out food. They primarily feed at night and search the ocean floor. Sand tiger sharks love small fish, but can be seen devouring crustaceans and squid, too. They sometimes hunt in groups, and even go after full fishing nets!
This animal is listed as Vulnerable (VU) by the IUCN.
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TFUI Founder Melissa C. Marquez is author of all animal bios and "Behind the Fins" segments.
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