Top 10 facts about Great White Sharks

The Great White Shark is also known as the great white, white pointer, white shark, or white death.

It is a species of large lamniform shark and can be found in the coastal surface waters of all the major oceans. Great White Sharks enjoy water temperature between 12 and 24 °C, and there are greater concentrations of them in the northeast Atlantic, California, South Africa, Japan, Oceania, Chile, and the Mediterranean. One of the densest populations is found in Dyer Island, South Africa, This is where most, if not all of the shark research is done.

Great White’s grow up to 6.4m in length however great white sharks have been said to reach a size over 8 m and 3,324 kg. They reach sexual maturity around 15 years of age and was previously believed to have a life span of over 30 years. However, they are thought now to live as long as 70 years or more.

Great White Sharks are able to accelerate to speeds that exceed 35 mph They are an apex predator of the seas which has no natural predators other than the Orca.

They are the world’s largest known extant macro-predatory fish and is one of the primary predators of marine mammals. The marine animals they prey on include fish and seabirds and they are also ranked first in having the most attacks on humans. Humans are not good prey for the Great White as their digestion not quick enough to deal with the high ratio of bone to muscle and fat that a human has. In most recorded attacks, the great white broke off contact after the first bite. Fatalities are mainly caused by blood loss from the initial bite rather than from critical organ loss or from whole consumption.

The great white shark is an epipelagic fish, observed mostly in the presence of rich game, such as fur seals, sea lions, cetaceans, other sharks, and large bony fish species.

In the open ocean, it has been recorded at depths as great as 1,200m. These findings challenge the traditional notion that the great white is a coastal species. Their reputation as a ferocious predator is well-earned, yet they are not indiscriminate “eating machines”.

They are ambush hunters, taking prey by surprise from below them. Like many sharks, Great white’s, have rows of serrated teeth behind the main ones, that are ready to replace any that break off. When the shark bites, it shakes its head from side-to-side, helping the teeth to saw off large chunks of flesh. They have an extra sense given by the Ampullae of Lorenzini which enables them to detect the electromagnetic field emitted by the movement of living animals. Every time a living creature moves, it generates an electrical field and great whites are so sensitive they can detect a half a billionth of a volt.

Great white’s, in general, try to avoid fighting for food with each other. When there is enough food for one of them, they have a tail slapping contest where sharks swim past each other, each slapping the surface of the water and directing the spray towards the other shark. The one who gets the meal is the shark that delivers the most tail slaps in the water.

The great white shark does not have an all-white colouring. In fact, their back may be grey, dark blue, black, or brown.

It is estimated that after a big meal the great white can go up to 3 months without another meal of the same size.

The largest great white shark ever caught was caught off Prince Edward Island in 1993 and it measured a massive 20ft long.