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LATIN NAME: Carcharias taurus

FAMILY: Odontaspididae

PHYLUM: Chordata

CLASS: Chondrichthyes

Despite is size and menacing pointed teeth, the sand tiger shark is a peaceable animal.

It is usually found close to the seabed by the coast, in tropical and temperate waters at depths of up to 220 metres. It can also be seen offshore.

It can be recognised by its size and the very rounded shape of its back.

It feeds on bony and cartilaginous fish, crustaceans and cephalopods.

On average, males grow to around 2 to 2.5 metres, up to a maximum of 3.2 metres.

  • Distribution :

    It is found in the Western Atlantic (from Canada to Argentina), Eastern Atlantic (from Morocco to Cameroon), in the Mediterranean and Red Seas and in the Indo-Pacific region (except the Eastern Pacific). It can migrate seasonally in a school.
  • IUCN Status :


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Find out more about the Sand tiger shark
Biomimetics: the special features of shark skin have inspired anti-bacterial and anti-fouling clothing. Its fins have been an inspiration for aviation: fixing “sharklets” to the wings of airplanes improves their stability and reduces fuel consumption.

The sand tiger shark has a powerful and imposing presence, emphasised by rows of sharp teeth. It is, however, a rather peaceable species.

In order to move around without sinking, a fish maintains its ability to float thanks to its swim bladder. A shark doesn’t have a swim bladder and so makes up for this by swallowing air stored in its stomach to maintain its balance in water. From time to time, it releases this air and then gives an audible burp!

Sand tiger sharks are ovoviviparous, meaning their eggs hatch inside the female’s body. Females give birth to one or two juveniles measuring 1 metre.

9 months: The gestation period of a sand tiger shark is between 9 and 12 months.

Another feature of this shark is its intra-uterine cannibalism. The embryos hatched inside the mother’s body feed on the unhatched eggs or the weakest embryos. Until there’s only one left!

Come and meet the sand tiger shark: Buy a ticket for your visit! 



Crédits photo du bandeau : © C.Bachimont
Crédits photo de la galerie : © A.Rosenfeld / © P. Brunet

Activities AT NAUSICAA


Every day, there are events focused on Nausicaa’s main species. With training and feeding sessions and talks on life in Europe’s largest aquarium, your visit will be a rich and entertaining experience!
Learn about the life of fishes, hear some surprising stories and enjoy the antics of some amazing animals.

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