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How Fast Do Tiger Sharks Swim

How Fast Do Tiger Sharks Swim

Tiger sharks are formidable predators capable of impressive bursts of speed. But how fast can these striped sharks really swim when chasing prey or migrating?

Typical Cruising Speed

  • Tiger sharks typically cruise at a relaxed pace of 2-3 mph (3-5 km/h). This allows them to conserve energy while searching large areas for food.
  • At this speed, tiger sharks swim about 1.5-2 body lengths per second. This pace is comparable to a slow jog for a human.
  • Cruising speed provides tiger sharks the stamina to migrate long distances up to thousands of miles.

Maximum Speed

  • When attacking prey or migrating, tiger sharks can reach top speeds of around 20 mph (32 km/h).
  • This maximum speed is around 5 times faster than their typical cruising speed.
  • 20 mph is faster than an Olympic swimmer and similar to an athletic human’s running speed.
  • Short bursts at top speed allow tiger sharks to pursue fast-moving prey like tuna, seals, and sea turtles.

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Speed Compared to Other Sharks

  • The tiger shark ranks around 5th for fastest shark species.
  • They are slower than mako sharks (60 mph), great whites (25 mph), and salmon sharks (50 mph).
  • However, tiger sharks are faster than bull sharks (19 mph) and nurse sharks (24 mph).
  • Their speed is sufficient to make tiger sharks effective apex predators.

Factors Affecting Shark Speed

FactorEffect on Speed
Shark sizeLarger sharks swim slower
Water conditionsTurbulence slows sharks
ActivitySwim faster while hunting
  • A shark’s size impacts its speed. Larger tiger sharks swim slower than smaller individuals.
  • Turbulent water and shallow areas near shore can slow a shark’s speed.
  • Tiger sharks swim faster in short bursts when chasing prey but slower when cruising.


  • Tiger sharks are capable of short bursts up to 20 mph to hunt prey.
  • Their relaxed cruising speed is just 2-3 mph for conservation of energy.
  • Tiger shark speed ranks around 5th fastest among shark species.
  • Maximum speed for tiger sharks is approximately 5 times their typical cruising pace.
  • Factors like size, water conditions, and activity affect shark swimming speed.

In summary, tiger sharks have excellent speed and acceleration to help make them effective predators. Their highest speeds are about 5 times greater than their standard cruising speed.

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Steve Momot

Steve is an accomplished professional photographer and marketer who specializes in the Fishing, Yacht, and Boating industry. With a strong presence as an influencer and marketing expert in the Marine Industry, he has made a significant impact in the field. Additionally, Steve is the original creator and co-founder of Sportfishtrader. Prior to his career as a marine photographer, he gained extensive experience as a licensed boat and car dealer in South Florida.

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