Bull Shark vs. Tiger Shark: Who Wins And Comparative Analysis


It is not unheard of that sharks do fight with their own types. So, what would happen if a bull shark and a tiger shark fought? Who will win the fight? Let’s have a comparative analysis.

Bull sharks are infamous for being aggressive and can be found in shallow coastal waters in warm climates. This species has reported several coastline shark bites. On the other hand, Tiger sharks are the only extant species of Galeocardo. Excluding the Mediterranean Sea, these sharks can be found in temperate and tropical waters.

Bull Shark vs Tiger Shark
Image Credit: Shark attack from Piqsels

In the field of shark attacks, both of these shark species are considered part of the “big three.” They are huge and capable of injuring their victims severely. These can also be found around where people enter the water.

However, several distinctions between these two species are worth understanding. So, in this essay, we’ll look at several qualities of both of these animals to discover who wins.

But first, have a look at the table below for some basic information about them.

Bull Shark vs. Tiger Shark Comparison

Comparing ParametersBull SharkTiger Shark
Scientific nameCarcharhinus LeucasGaleocerdo Cuvier
SpeciesLeucasG. cuvier
FamilyCarcharhinidaeCarcharhinidae
GenusCarcharhinusGaleocerdo
DistributionShallow and tropical waters
Fresh water– less common
Tropical and temperate oceans
Weight200 to 570 poundsUp to 1400lbs
Length7 to 11.5 feetUp to 24.6 feet
Swim speed25 mph20 mph 
CannibalismYes Intrauterine cannibalism
Bite force1,350psi 325 psi
Danger to humansMost likely Most likely 
Lifespan16 – 25 yearsAround 12 years
Conservation status (IUCN)Near threatened Near threatened 

Bull Shark vs. Tiger Shark: Size

Image Credit: A tiger shark by Kris Mikael Krister (CC BY 3.0) from Wikimedia

The foremost ways to differentiate between these two species of sharks are their size and appearance. The size will also help to realize which one is bigger and heavier in stature. 

One of the best ways to recognize a bull shark is recognizing its body’s high width-to-length ratio. These sharks can grow as long as 11.5 feet, weigh up to 570lbs, and have countershading. On the other hand, a tiger shark can grow up to 24.6 feet and weigh up to 1400lbs. The dark stripes can best recognize these sharks on their skin like tigers at a young age. 

So, size and weight-wise, tiger sharks have a higher position than bull sharks. 

Bull Shark vs. Tiger Shark: Bite Force

Sharks are among the top list of animals with the strongest bite force. Their strong bite force makes it easy to crush through the flesh of the prey in no time.

If compared, a bull shark has a bite force of 1,350psi, which is much more than a tiger shark, at 325 psi. It should be noted that this bite force ranks the highest among all shark species. 

As a result, we can clearly see the winner here- the bull shark. However, you should remember that despite bull sharks having the highest bite force, a tiger shark will inflict more damage on the prey. 

Bull Shark vs. Tiger Shark: Breathing System

Image Credit: Sharks breath through gills from Piqsels

Sharks do not possess lungs. But they still breathe anyways. So, let’s explore how a bull shark and a tiger shark breath.

Bull sharks do not have a buccal pumping mechanism, which means they must constantly swim to obtain oxygen. They must use ram ventilation for breathing. On the other hand, Tiger sharks have a buccal pumping mechanism that allows them to inhale water by using their cheek muscles. As a result, these sharks can cease moving while still receiving oxygen.

One thing to note is that tiger sharks have an advantage over bull sharks in that they can partly bury themselves in the sand on the sea bed to rest.

So, a bull shark will die if it stops swimming and getting the oxygen supply, while a tiger shark can easily survive even if stopped swimming completely. As a result, here, the winner is tiger sharks. 

Bull Shark vs. Tiger Shark: Sleep/ Resting Habits

This section is directly related to the above one. Sharks’ resting pattern is highly dependent on their breathing mechanisms. Let’s explore it in the cases of bull and tiger sharks.

Neither bull sharks nor tiger sharks rest as humans do. Both these species take breaks and spend some sluggish time. However, bull sharks cannot rest by stopping moving entirely. They need to keep on swimming while resting to let their body get the oxygen supply. In contrast, tiger sharks can stop moving and partly bury themselves in the sea bed to take restful breaks

For those who might not know, both bull and tiger sharks can cover their eyes with the nictitating membrane, their third eye-lid, while resting. This cover protects their eyes from any potential injury.

Bull Shark vs. Tiger Shark: Aggression Level

Whenever we think of sharks, we think of their aggression. Thanks to pop culture, sharks have always been portrayed as vicious creatures angry and on some vengeance. 

Bull sharks are notorious for being aggressive towards other animals and humans; they are unpredictable and are believed to be responsible for most shark attacks on humans. On the other hand, Tiger sharks prefer to live alone, if not mating. Unfortunately, these sharks are also responsible for attacks on humans, which are too unprovoked. 

We can’t rule out the possibility that both shark species are aggressive. However, according to certain research, tiger shark attacks on people are slightly higher than those by bull sharks. On the other hand, bull sharks are more likely to come into touch with humans because they swim in the same places as humans.

Bull Shark vs. Tiger Shark: Diet

Image Credit: Most sharks are opportunistic eaters by Dieterich01 from Pixabay

We all know that sharks are carnivorous. However, their food habits are not uniform. So let’s delve deep into the diet of bull sharks and tiger sharks.

A wild bull shark will mostly prefer bony fishes, stingrays, and small sharks. They also feed on mullet, tarpon, catfishes, menhaden, gar, snook, jacks, mackerel, etc. Tiger sharks also feed on several preys and hunt alone. These sharks mostly feed on seals, fishes, birds, small sharks, squids, etc. 

It has also been found that bull sharks are also opportunistic feeders, like many other shark species, and will mostly feed on prey that is easily and safely available. On the other hand, tiger harks are very curious, and they have been found to ingest made-made wastes like license plates, oil-tire bits, etc. 

It is crucial to remember that although humans are not a part of their diet, these sharks are known to have attacked humans in the past. 

Bull Shark vs. Tiger Shark: The Winner

So after going through all the facts, which shark has more chances to win? Let’s give it a look.

Tiger sharks are the most likely to win a fight. This is because tiger sharks are the second most dangerous marine animal on the planet. Although bull sharks are more violent, tiger sharks have a unique hunting technique that prevents victims from fleeing. They will also devour nearly anything that fits into their mouth. As a result, the odds favor the tiger sharks in a fight.

Summary

After all the comparisons, we have already learned that a tiger shark will probably win if there is a battle between it and a bull shark. And remember, tiger sharks do not have a natural predator other than orcas. However, young bull sharks are often hunted and devoured by adult tiger sharks. We hope this article has assisted you in learning about these sharks better. If you found it interesting, do not forget to share it with your friends! 

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