10 facts about great white sharks!
Learn all about the great white shark!
Take a deep breath, gang, as we dive deep to get the lowdown on one of the ocean’s deadliest predators, in our great white shark facts!
Great white shark facts
1) Great white sharks can be found throughout the world’s oceans, mostly in cool waters close to the coast.
2) These super swimmers are the largest predatory fish (fish that eat other fish or animals) on our planet. On average, they grow to around 4.6m long, but some great whites have been measured at 6m – that’s half the length of a bus!
3) Great white sharks are grey with a white underbelly, from where they get their name. They have a streamlined shape and powerful tails that propel them through the water at over 60km per hour!
4) Any creature unlucky enough to find itself in the gob of a great white is in for a nasty shock! Because this marine beast’s mouth is equipped with a set of 300 sharp, triangular teeth arranged in up to seven rows. Yikes! Let’s take a closer look, if you dare…
5) Whilst many think of these beasts as fearsome man-eaters, humans aren’t, in fact, on the great white’s menu. Phew! There are around 5-10 attacks a year, but researchers believe that, rather than preying on humans to eat them, the sharks are instead taking a “sample bite” out of curiosity, before swimming off.
6) So what do they eat? Well, when they’re young, they feed on small prey, such as fish and rays. But when they’re older and bigger, they generally feast on sea mammals such as sea lions, seals and small whales.
7) Great white sharks have such a strong sense of smell that they can detect a colony of seals two miles away. And check this out – if there was only one drop of blood in 100 litres of water, a great white would smell it!
8) These cunning creatures like to take their prey by surprise. They usually position themselves underneath their unsuspecting victims before swimming up and…chomp! They often burst out of the water in a leap (called a breach) before falling back in with their meal in their mouths.
9) When a great white gives birth, she usually has two to ten youngsters, called “pups“. But she shows no care for her offspring – in fact, she may even try to eat them! Taking care of themselves, the newborn pups will immediately swim off into the ocean.
10) Great white sharks are at the top of the food chain and aren’t likely to be killed by other sea creatures. Sadly, however, they are under serious threat by human activity. Illegal hunting of these beautiful beasts, and overfishing, have meant that today great white sharks are a vulnerable species on the IUCN Red List.
Fancy putting your shark knowledge to the test? Then sink your teeth into our super shark quiz!