Sharks and crocodiles are top predators all over the world. Tiger sharks are the second deadliest of all shark species in the world, after the great white. Known as elite ambush hunters, crocodiles are the largest reptiles on Earth today. Although the two animals generally live in different habitats, there is occasionally some overlap in the places they frequent. Today, we will see the outcome of the battle of life and death: tiger shark VS crocodile!
Comparing Tiger Sharks and Alligators
|bite force||2,350 pounds per square inch||3,700 pounds per square inch|
|size||Weight: 850-1,400 lbs|
Length: 10-14 feet
|Weight: 900-2,200 lbs|
Length: 5-23 feet
|swimming ability||Capable and agile swimmer in deep water.||Ambush a predator. I like shallow water.|
|hunting strategy||Assault from below.||Passive. Waiting for prey to venture close.|
|special skills and adaptations||Teeth designed to cut through anything. Hardened and calcified mouth. electroreceptors.||thick armor.|
Tiger Shark vs Alligator: Before the Fight
Tiger sharks and crocodiles are some of the most fearsome predators in the entire world, yet they are rarely, if ever, encountered in the wild. Still, due to how often saltwater crocodiles venture into the ocean, a showdown between these top predators is likely to happen in real life. Who would win if something like this happened?
Today, we’re going to take a look at the animals and see who comes out on top in a duel to the death. We’ve covered five different categories that break down every skill and stat these animals have, allowing us to judge them all one at a time. By the end, we should know who wins the battle in real life. Also, since life is about chance, not certainty, we’ll make a rough estimate of how often the winner will be able to take home the win.
Combat will follow these parameters to reflect possible scenarios:
- 20 to 100 feet of seawater
- Partly clear to clear conditions
Tiger Shark vs Alligator: Bite Force
Generally speaking, sharks do not have impressive bite force. Despite their size, sharks typically rely on the sharpness of their teeth to inflict damage, rather than the force of a bite. The best guess for a tiger shark’s bite force is currently around 2,350 pounds per square inch, much higher than most sharks. Tiger sharks have a stronger bite compared to other shark species worldwide.
Alligators are known for their incredible jaws! Saltwater crocodiles are known for having one of the strongest bite forces of any animal in the world. Current measurements indicate that the saltwater crocodile has a bite force of approximately 3,700 pounds per square inch, the highest in the world. The jaws are strong, and it is not difficult to bite through bones, cartilage, and limbs.
Tiger Shark vs Alligator: Size
Tiger sharks are generally considered the second largest predatory shark species in the world, after the great white. These gigantic fish can often reach a length of 14 feet, but in some cases have measured in excess of 16 feet. Also, tiger sharks can weigh up to 2,000 pounds, but most individuals weigh between 380 and 1,400 pounds.
Crocodiles are by far the largest reptiles on Earth. The largest species of crocodile, the saltwater crocodile, typically grows from 14 to 23 feet long. Additionally, they can weigh 900-1,200 pounds, although record holders have weighed over 2,000 pounds.
Tiger Shark vs Alligator: Swimming Ability
Both tiger sharks and crocodiles are aquatic creatures. However, tiger sharks cannot move on land and rely entirely on swimming. As predatory fish in the water, they are extremely fast when needed and can swim to depths of around 3,000 feet. With specialized fins and strong tails, these sharks can swim at speeds of around 20 miles per hour, with brief bursts of speed as they approach their prey. However, sharks are fish and may have better maneuverability underwater.
Crocodiles are usually sluggish while waiting to ambush their prey, but they can be very fast when needed. In the water, crocodiles can swim at speeds of 15-18 mph, which is slightly lower than the typical swimming speed of tiger sharks. On land, they can sprint forward at greater speeds, but only for short distances.
Winner: Tiger Shark
Tiger Shark vs Crocodile: Hunting Guide
The tiger shark’s preferred tactic is to swim up to unsuspecting prey and attack it from an angle (usually from below). This tactic works so well because it gives the swimming animals little time to react. By the time you see a tiger shark coming up from the depths, it’s usually too late. Often, a tiger shark will circle its prey in circles before attacking, especially if it knows it is swimming faster than its prey.
Crocodiles are ambush predators like tiger sharks, only much more passive. A crocodile waits in murky water, its eyes just above the waterline. When an animal comes to the shore to drink water, or a fish or turtle swims past its mouth, the crocodile leaps forward and grabs the prey with its jaws. In the ocean, however, this method of hunting is pretty much useless, especially when you factor in the tiger shark’s special adaptations.
Winner: Tiger Shark
Tiger Shark vs Alligator: Special Skills and Adaptations
Tiger sharks have a number of very specific adaptations that make them one of the top predators in the world’s oceans. The teeth of tiger sharks are especially well suited for cutting through extremely hard materials, especially turtle shells and bony fish. Their teeth are very sharp, have an extra jagged line, and have a pointed point on the side. Additionally, tiger sharks have calcified mouths that allow them to grab hard, pointy prey that would normally cut the mouths of other sharks. What’s more, tiger sharks are able to detect the electromagnetic fields of living things, allowing them to hunt in total darkness if desired. It was impossible for something to sneak up on them without them noticing. Tiger sharks also have the ability to breathe underwater, which makes prolonged underwater combat to their advantage.
Crocodiles are also highly adaptable creatures, unlike tiger sharks. A crocodile’s greatest defense is its tough, scaly skin that fends off knives. Also, quick reflexes and “death roll” behavior could allow an alligator to rip off a fin or flip a shark over if given the chance.
Winner: Tiger Shark
Tiger Shark vs Crocodile: The Last Stand
In the final battle between a tiger shark and a crocodile, the tiger shark almost always kills the crocodile. The Tigersharks have won 9 of 10.
The main reason we have Tiger Sharks as winners is their prowess as hunters of the ocean and their expert ability to cut through thick material. Tiger sharks always have an advantage over crocodiles in open water. It can swim faster, maneuver better, and breathe underwater. If the fight takes place underwater, the tiger shark almost always wins. Also, the crocodile’s armor plate has the perfect answer in the tiger shark’s mouth. The hard mouth and special teeth regularly cut through the turtle’s shell, a material much harder than the crocodile’s scales.
The only reason we didn’t give the Tiger Shark a 10/10 is because of the alligator’s specialized tumbling behavior. Things could have been different had the tiger shark’s initial attack not killed the crocodile immediately and been able to bite the shark. If an alligator could roll a shark on its back, that would be an immediate KO because it would send the shark into a deep trance. In fact, orcas often take advantage of this weakness when hunting sharks, often turning them on their backs and killing them without a fight.
I am broadly interested in how human activities influence the ability of wildlife to persist in the modified environments that we create.
Specifically, my research investigates how the configuration and composition of landscapes influence the movement and population dynamics of forest birds. Both natural and human-derived fragmenting of habitat can influence where birds settle, how they access the resources they need to survive and reproduce, and these factors in turn affect population demographics. Most recently, I have been studying the ability of individuals to move through and utilize forested areas which have been modified through timber harvest as they seek out resources for the breeding and postfledging phases. As well I am working in collaboration with Parks Canada scientists to examine in the influence of high density moose populations on forest bird communities in Gros Morne National Park. Many of my projects are conducted in collaboration or consultation with representatives of industry and government agencies, seeking to improve the management and sustainability of natural resource extraction.
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