Possibly the most famous of all the sharks is the Great White. Renowned from the very popular films Jaws, they have unfortunately been given a bad rep which has stuck with them for years since. Very few creatures strike more fear in humans than this incredible creature.
But the reality is, in Great White shark history, attacks on humans are rather rare – and proven even rarer for one of these attacks to be fatal. There are so many amazing facts about sharks that will help you to understand these magnificent creatures, so don’t let the film industry steer your view towards the vicious man-eating reputation that this species has!
50 Amazing Facts about Great White Sharks
Great white sharks are a majestic and beautiful shark species, but how intelligent are sharks? we will let you decide after you read on to learn 50 Great White shark facts that you probably didn’t know!
1. To begin our facts about Great White sharks we ask this question, where does the great white shark habitat?
Although they tend to stay close to the shores swimming in the shallower water, they have been spotted swimming in the open water of depths up to 3900 feet.
2. They are known to both, live and hunt on the coast of almost every continent in the world, with the exception of Antarctica.
3. Although they do prefer to live in cooler waters with temperatures ranging from 54-75° Fahrenheit.
4. The majority of the world’s Great White sharks live off of the coast of Dyer Island, South Africa. This area has been nicknamed, and is also referred to as “Shark Alley”.
5. The Great White shark history. Experts have revealed early fossil records which show evidence that these sharks have been swimming the world’s oceans for over 16 million years, although scientists believe that they have been around even longer than that.
6. It has been previously thought that their life expectancy was only around 25 years, but a recent study has shown that it is actually around 70 years.
7. On average, this species weighs in at 1500 – 2400 pounds at maturity, that’s about as heavy as a Cow!
8. The heaviest ever recorded in the wild was estimated to weigh a massive 7328 pounds.
9. What size is the Great White shark? The biggest ever recorded in the wild was estimated to be about 26 feet long, that’s more than half the length of a basketball court.
10. Just like most shark species, females grow much bigger than males.
11. They can typically grow up to 21 feet in length, although the females average to be around 15 – 16 feet and the males 11 – 13 feet.
12. The largest to ever be captured was off of the coast of Kangaroo Island, Australia, and was measured to be 23.4 feet long.
13. There have been numerous claims of larger ones to have been seen, however, most of them have actually turned out to be sights of basking sharks which are very similar in appearance.
14. How much do Great White sharks eat? They can on average eat, 11 tons of food in a single year.
15. And, they are able to go a whole three months without having to eat another meal after they have fed.
16. How fast can a Great White shark go? Belonging to the group of some of the fastest predators in the oceans, they can clock up speeds of up to 35mph.
17. Sharks have six senses, these include; sight, touch, smell, taste, hearing, and electroreception.
18. These electromagnetic fields are used to feel vibrations within the water so they can find potential prey.
19. When in close range, they are even able to sense the heartbeat of immobile prey.
20. How far can sharks smell blood? Their sense of smell is so good that they are able to detect the scent of blood in the water from up to three miles away.
21. An interesting fact about Great White sharks is that they do not have eyelids, instead, they actually roll their eyes back into their heads in order to protect them from damage when attacking prey.
22. Their diet consists of a wide range of animals, from the large elephant seals to seabirds and sometimes even crocodiles.
23. They are also known cannibals, meaning that they will eat each other, most commonly when in territorial disputes.
24. The bite force of a Great White is 4000 psi, that’s 10 times the bite force of that of a lion.
25. Although they are predominantly a hunter, often they are also known to scavenge and eat carcasses of dead animals when unable to find prey.
26. The most popular time for them to hunt is first thing in the morning, during sunrise when visibility is low.
27. Using a practice better known as “spy-hopping”, they will often peak their heads out of the water in order to look for prey.
28. A fun fact about Great White sharks is that they can jump to a massive 10 feet above the water surface to catch and kill their prey, this behavior is known as “breaching”.
29. The average breach of a Great White shark occurs at 25 mph, what a force!
30. There have actually been reports of them accidentally breaching onto the decks of boats.
31. Great whites use a type of camouflage which is called countershading. This makes it difficult for them to be seen in the water.
32. Inside their mouths, they have 5 rows of teeth, with 46 teeth in each row.
33. The largest tooth ever to be found was 3.5 inches long, almost the size of the palm of a human hand.
34. The teeth are serrated just like a knife, this makes it easier to tear through flesh.
35. Although they do not get cavities, they lose and regrow hundreds of teeth during their lifetime.
36. They tend to bite their prey first, then leave them to weaken before returning to finish the kill.
37. This species is also known to grab hold of their prey and shake them side to side in order to weaken and injure it.
38. They spend most of their lives on their own and are typically solitary hunters. The only time when they aren’t alone is during the mating season.
39. Sometimes, during mating season, they will often share food and hunt in packs of up to 8 and then share the same meal.
40. We know very little about their mating rituals, apart from the fact that after copulation, females are often covered in bite marks.
41. Do Great White sharks lay eggs? or Do Great White sharks give live birth? The answer to this is they keep the eggs internally, and the pregnancy lasts for 11 months, and she will usually give birth to small litters of 2 – 12 pups.
42. Baby Great White sharks practice a behavior called oophagy, this is where the largest and strongest pups will cannibalize the other pups inside of the womb.
43. Although this species is an apex predator, they are often attacked and eaten by killer whales.
44. A brilliant bit of Great white shark information now. They are known to become motionless when flipped onto their backs. This is known as tonic immobility.
45. This tonic immobility is what is used by the Killer Whales to attack and kill them. The whales deliberately ram into them until it flips onto its back and stops breathing.
46. All about Great White sharks and their habits. When they have the smell of the blood of another Great White shark, they will leave the area immediately, often swimming hundreds of miles away.
47. They are responsible for the most attacks on humans than any other species of shark. Although they do not actually eat people.
48. Many people survive their attacks because typically, after having mistaken the human for prey, a shark will take a bite and then realize their mistake and swim away.
49. They will often attack and capsize boats because they are drawn to the electric fields that they generate.
50. Last, on our list of Great White shark facts is they are unable to be kept in captivity due to them becoming disorientated. They will stop eating and continuously run into the aquarium walls until they die.
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Conservation Status of the Great White Shark
Many sharks face endangerment in today’s world. The Great White shark is currently listed as vulnerable by the IUCN Red List, however, it is on the cusp of being labeled endangered due to overfishing.
Some threats include targeted commercial and sports fisheries, for jaws, fins, game records and for aquarium display, protective beach meshing, media-fanned campaigns to kill them after a biting incident occurs, and degradation of inshore habitats used as pupping and nursery grounds.
What You Can Do to Help the Great White Shark
So what can you do to help these amazing creatures? Share this information with others! Educate your friends and family to help raise awareness about this vulnerable species.
You can also help them by not purchasing their jaws or items made from their fins. Another great way to support is to adopt a great white shark today, help support their conservation and help towards a better future for our Great White sharks.
Loving these great shark-related posts from Ocean Scuba Dive? You might also like to read these;
- Facts about Whale Sharks
- Facts about Tiger Sharks
- 15 Most Endangered Sharks in the World
- International Whale Shark Day
- Adopt a Whale Shark
- Adopt a Basking Shark