Interesting Facts About Great White Sharks

GREAT WHITE SHARK FACTS

Great White Sharks primarily inhabit coastal regions where the water temperature ranges between 12 – 24 degrees C. They are found in large numbers around the southern coast of Australia, California, South Africa, Isla Guadalupe (Mexico) with the largest population found in the coastal region around the Dyer Island in Gansbaai, South Africa.

It was believed that the white sharks where not very social, recent research has proven that this species is rather social. The sharks of South Africa follow what is known as a dominance hierarchy based on size, gender and the rights of the squatters. (smaller sharks are dominated by larger ones and newcomers are dominated by the resident sharks)

The legendary Great White Shark is far more fearsome in our imaginations than in reality.

GREAT WHITE SHARK CLASSIFICATION

SubPhylum Vertebrata (vertebrates)
Class Chondrichthyes (cartilaginous fish)
Subclass Elasmobranchii (sharks and rays)
Order Lamniformes
Family Lamnidae
Genus Carcharodon
Species C. carcharias

SIZE

Great whites average 12-16 feet long (3.7-4.9 m) long. The biggest great white shark on record was 23 feet (7 m) long, weighing about 7,000 pounds (3200 kg). Females are larger than males, as with most sharks. Shark pups can be over 5 feet (1.5 m) long at birth.

DESCRIPTION

The Great White Sharks have a torpedo-shaped body with a pointed snout featuring about 3000 teeth, arranged in several rows. The first two rows of teeth are used for grabbing and cutting prey, while the teeth in the last rows rotate into place when front teeth are broken, worn down, or fall out. The teeth are triangularly shaped with serrations on the edges. Great White Sharks have three main fins: the dorsal (back) and two pectoral fins (sides). The tail is crescent shaped. There are five gill slits on Great White Sharks.

DIET AND FEEDING HABITS

Young great white sharks eat fish, rays, and other sharks. Adults eat larger prey, including pinnipeds (sea lions and seals), small toothed whales (like belugas), otters, and sea turtles. They also eat carrion (dead animals found floating in the water). A large meal can satisfy a Great White Shark for up to 2 months.

REPRODUCTION

Great White sharks reproduce via aplacental viviparity; they give birth to 2-14 fully-formed pups that are up to 5 feet (1.5 m) long. Fertilization and the hatching of the eggs occurs within the female. Shark Pups swim away from the mother immediately after birth, there is no maternal care-giving. The Great White reaches maturity after about 9 years, with an annual growth rate of about 25-30 cm. The White Shark has litters of about 7-9 pups and the females only reproduce twice.

DISTRIBUTION

Great White Sharks have been observed along the coastlines of California to Alaska, the east coast of the USA and most of the Gulf coast, Hawaii, most of South America, South Africa, Australia (except the north coast), New Zealand, the Mediterranean Sea, West Africa to Scandinavia, Japan, and the eastern coastline of China and southern Russia.