Great White Shark
- Genus/Species: Carcharodon carcharias
- Conservation Status: Endangered
- Location: Along the coasts of all continents except Antarctica.
The Largest Predatory Fish
Great white sharks live in cool, coastal waters throughout the world. They are the largest predatory fish on Earth, with slate grey coloring and torpedo-shaped bodies. Great white sharks get their name from their stark white under bellies, and have powerful tails that can propel them through the water at speeds of up to 15 miles per hour. Their mouths are lined with serrated, triangular teeth, and as teeth are lost, broken or worn down, they are replaced by new teeth that rotate into place. Great white sharks also have a very sharp sense of smell, enabling them to sense tiny electrical discharges through the ocean water.
Great white sharks grow to an average of 15 feet in length- more than half the length of a bus – and can weigh up to 5,000 pounds (about as heavy as a car). They prey on sea lions, seals, small toothed whales, sea turtles and carrion, and are also known to attack humans. The great white shark’s attack strategy consists of a swift, surprise attack from below, inflicting a large, potentially fatal bite.
Because they have been hunted by humans for years, great white sharks have become a protected species along the coasts of California, USA, Australia and South Africa. Sharks play an essential role in our marine ecosystem, and need to be protected to prevent extinction.
Did You Know?
- Great white sharks can detect one drop of blood in 25 gallons of water and can sense even tiny amounts of blood in the water up to 3 miles away.
- Great white sharks have about 3,000 teeth in their mouths at any given time.
- A great white shark may use and lose more than 1,000 teeth in its lifetime.
- Scientists estimate that after a big meal, a great white shark can last up to three months before needing another one.
- Great white sharks are able to jump into the air from deep water in order to catch fast-swimming seals.
- Great white sharks must swim constantly or they will sink.