The great white shark is one of the most feared in the world. It is no secret that this is a very aggressive species of shark. They are known for attacking humans as well so it is understandable why those who enjoy the open water find them to be a threat. However, most people who are attacked by a great white shark do survive. Therefore it is believed they feel threatened by the person and only attack in order to protect themselves.
This particular species of shark lives along the shoreline of various bodies of water around the world. They live in saltwater where they temperatures are moderate. They don’t seem to do well in temperatures that are extremely cold or extremely warm. Some of the locations where you will find them include the Gulf of Mexico, Hawaii, and Japan. The females are often found along the shoreline of California when they are ready to have their pups.
Facts about the Great White Shark
Great white sharks have an amazing sense of smell. It is believed they can smell single drops of blood in the water. They also have good eyesight and hearing so they have no trouble hunting for food any time of day or night.
Of all the species of sharks, the great white is the only one that will bring its head above water. There isn’t any health benefit to doing so but researchers have a couple of theories. First, they believe it allows them to search for larger prey that can be above water and not paying attention to them. Second, it can be for them to further show their dominance since they are extremely aggressive by nature.
Food Sources for the Great White
Great white sharks eat a variety of foods found in the water. They are mainly meat eaters feeding on fish and other sharks. The full grown great whites may go after seals and sea lions. If otters and sea turtles are around they will be eat as well. While they do prefer to hunt and kill their own food the will take what they can get. If live prey is scarce they will feed on dead animals found in the water.
Since they have such sharp teeth they are able to penetrate just about anything. They rip into meat and bones without any trouble at all.
The Anatomy of Great White Sharks
The great white shark is able to swim very fast to get around in the water and to hunt for food. The body is shaped very similar to a torpedo. They can easily be identified by the pointed nose. They also have a unique looking tail that appears with the top part of it to be longer than the bottom. This design gives them the balance they need and it helps to reduce friction as they move through the water.
In movies such as Jaw, it is the dorsal fin of the shark that is seen above the surface. This is what you will see of a great white shark when they are close to the surface. It is best to get out of the area as quickly and as safely as you can if you see a dorsal fin up there on the water.
The great white is a light gray in color with white underneath. On average they are about 16 feet long when full grown. The females end up being larger than the males. They can weigh up to 2,400 pounds when they have enough food to eat and are thriving in their natural environment.
An adult great white has at least 30,000 teeth in their lifetime. They are serrated and extremely sharp. They are able to grow new teeth as they need to and have several rows of them in their mouth at any one time. They can loose many teeth each and every day.
Great Whites and Reproduction
Great whites are loners until they are ready to mate. The females develop eggs inside of them that they carry. When the pups hatch there can be from one to a dozen of them. The eggs hatch inside of the female’s body and the young feed on the shells of the eggs and even each other sometimes. As soon as they are born they separate from their mother.
The Future of Great White Sharks
Conservation status: Vulnerable
The number of great white sharks continues to drop due to humans. They have been hunted because people are afraid of them. They have been labeled “people eaters”. As a result of the dwindling numbers they are protected in many areas so it is illegal to hunt them.