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Animals Up-Close

Encounters with the animals that call Mystic Aquarium home

Animals Up-Close: Learn More
All animals
Carcharias taurus

Sand Tiger Sharks


Between 6.5 and 10.5ft and 200-300lbs, with females being larger


Large bony fish, sting rays, squids, crustaceans


Shallow coastlines reaching depths of 15 - 25m. Found in both tropical and temperate waters.


Can be found globally along many shallow coastlines

Conservation Status


Least Concern


Near Threatened








Extinct in Wild



Sand tiger sharks gulp air at the water’s surface to help them regulate their buoyancy and swimming depth.

They have one of the lowest reproduction rates of all sharks.

Sand tiger sharks go by a variety of names around the world; including ragged tooth shark, grey nurse shark and slender tooth shark (just to name a few). They have a unique behavior to maintain neutral buoyancy, which helps them hunt quietly and motionless. By gulping air at the surface and holding it in its stomach, the shark can float at any point in the water column they choose.

A large shark, the sand tiger shark reaches an average size from 6 to 9 feet in length and up to 300 pounds.  Sand tiger sharks are easily recognizable by their numerous protruding teeth and large, notched upper lobe of the tail. The young sharks at Mystic Aquarium will have dark spots throughout their brown or grey body but these spots will fade as they mature.

Sand Tiger Shark Quick Facts


A large shark, the sand tiger shark reaches an average size from six to nine feet in length and up to
300 pounds.


These sharks primarily eat fish but will also feed on smaller sharks, rays, crabs, lobsters, and

Threats in the wild

Causes of concern for the sand tiger shark include: Fishing for fishmeal, liver oil, and fins,
accidental catching (bycatch) Low reproductive rate and limited ability to increase population quickly
affect the population’s ability to rebound.