Size – 16ft up to 20ft
Weight – 4000 to 5000lbs
Great White Sharks are the world’s largest predatory fish. Due to being a migratory shark, females tend to be larger than their male counterparts.
Great Whites also give birth to a few large live sharks. These young sharks are predators right away and will begin to feed on coastal fish relatively quickly after birth.
They have a heavy torpedo shaped body with powerful tails to help them swim swiftly through the water. They are blue-grey with a white underbelly. This creates a camouflage effect that makes it difficult for prey to spot them.
Great Whites are incredibly quick for their size. They are able to reach speeds of up to 16mph in short stints and are also able to reach depths as low as 3,900ft.
They can be found worldwide in tropical to cold-temperate waters along the coast or open ocean.
Great Whites are highly migratory and are believed to make long migrations on a yearly basis. It is actually very common for a Great White to migrate between Hawaii and Mexico in the Pacific Ocean. Scientists believe in other Oceans they may travel even further.
Great White Sharks are also able to make very deep dives. They are able to do this because of their countercurrent exchanger, a blood vessel structure they have that allows them to keep a higher body temperature than their surrounding water.
Primarily marine mammals such as seals, sea lions and dolphins, but will dive for deeper prey such as squids and fish on occasion.
Great White Sharks are the top of the marine food chain. Only Orca Whales have been known to challenge Great Whites, and even then, this is a rare occurrence.
There are many videos and images that display the amazing breaching ability these sharks have as well. This hunting technique is primarily used when pursuing seals. The Great White lurks below, and at the opportune moment, surges to the surface and lunges out of the water with the seal in its jaw.
Many people fear Great Whites more than any shark; this is likely due to their portrayal in film and TV. In reality, Great White Shark attacks are very rare, and if they do take a bite, they quickly realize their mistake and see that a human is not their preferred choice of meal. Unfortunately, due to their powerful bite and strength, this mistaken nibble can sometimes prove to be fatal or high trauma.
Great Whites are well known to do what is called “spy-hopping.” This means they frequently poke their heads out of the surface of the water to gaze at prey or other objects.
Great White Sharks are also known for their intelligence and curiosity. Some believe they are actually the smartest shark. They truly are the oceans apex predator.
Some scientists choose to refer to them simply as White Sharks, stating “there is no lesser shark.”
Due to their demanding diet, size, and migratory needs, they cannot survive in captivity, and there are no known aquariums believed to house the Great White.
Unfortunately, due to a few circumstances such as, accidental catching, or targeted fishing for their fins, teeth, and jaws, they are considered vulnerable to extinction.
Oceana has some more great information on this incredible shark, as well as ways we can help protect them and other sharks.