61 Great White Shark Facts You Must Learn

by Virupakshi
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great white shark facts

Great White Shark is a large mackerel shark. It is present in almost all major oceans. This mighty and apex predator is amazing in more than one way – it has a lifespan of over 70 years, some sharks measure around 6 meters, etc. Let us learn more such Great White Shark facts in this article today and increase our knowledge. Let us begin…

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Chondrichthyes

Order: Lamniformes

Family: Lamnidae

Genus: Carcharodon

Species: C. carcharias

Great White Shark Facts 1-10

great white shark facts

1. Linnaeus mentioned Great White Shark in the 10th edition of Systema Naturae in 1758. The scientific name of Great White Shark was Squalus carcharias.

2. In 1833 and 1873, Sir Andrew Smith gave the generic name Carcharodan. Carcharodan in Ancient Greek meant sharp teeth.

3. Its earliest known fossils were found to be at least 16 million years old (mid-Miocene epoch).

4. However, the phylogeny of the Great White Shark is still disputed. Some believe that it shared a common ancestor with prehistoric shark and others believe that it is more closely related to mako shark than to prehistoric shark.

5. It can live in waters where the temperature is between 12 and 24 degrees Celsius or between 54- and 75-degrees Fahrenheit.

6. It is widely present in the waters near northeast side of the United States, Japan, Oceania, South Africa, Mediterranean, Chile, etc.

7. It is an epipelagic fish meaning it remains near the surface of the ocean or waters.

8. It is mostly present in the places where other sea creatures (prey) are abundant. It can go as deep as 1,200 meters or 3,900 feet.

9. The Great White Shark population has diminished to a great extent near the New England coast because of overfishing. However, the numbers have started increasing in the recent past.

10. It has a conical and robust snout. The tail fins’ upper and lower lobes are of the same size.

Great White Shark Facts 11-20

great white shark

11. It displays countershading meaning it has white underside and a dark dorsal side. When seen from below, the underside blends with sky and when seen from above, the dorsal side blends with the sea or ocean.

12. Leucism (partial loss of pigmentation, different from albinism) is present in Great White Sharks but it is extremely rare.

13.  It has a row of serrated teeth behind the main teeth to replace any broken teeth.

14. It moves its head from side to side so that teeth can cut the flesh of the prey.

15. The proportion of eyes compared to body is slightly bigger in case of Great White Shark (similar to mackerel sharks). The iris is deep blue not black.

16. Sexual dimorphism is seen in Great White Sharks. Females are bigger in size than males.

17. On an average, men are 3.4 to 4 meters long and females are around 4.6 to 4.9 meters long.

18. Average weight of males and females is around 522 to 771 kilograms but mature females can weigh as much as 680 to 1,110 kilograms!

19. The largest females were 6.1 meters long and weighed an estimate of 1,905 to 2,268 kilograms.

20. There are only three cartilaginous fish which are larger and heavier than Great White Shark. They are whale shark, giant manta ray, and basking shark.

Great White Shark Facts 11-20

great white shark

21. It is around 1.2 meters long when it is born! It grows around 25 centimeters every year.

22. Largest Great White Shark recognized by IGFA, International Game Fish Association, weighed 1,208 kilograms. It was caught by Alf Dean in south Australian waters in 1959.

23. There are multiples reports of such humungous Great White Sharks in various locations.

24. Just like other sharks, it can detect the electromagnetic field that are emitted by living organisms’ movement. It is so sensitive that it can detect changes of half a billionth of a single volt!

25. It can detect the heartbeat of an immobile animal as well!

26. Though most sharks are poikilotherms (an animal whose body temperature changes with the change of temperature in the surroundings), Great White Shark regulates body temperatures in certain areas of its body like the stomach and hence is partially warm-blooded.  

27. During migration to poor-nutrient areas, it uses its fat and oil deposits of liver to sustain.

28. It may be surprising to note but Great White Shark is kind of immune to heavy metal poisoning. It developed some physiological defence against such poisoning.

29. It has propensity for avoiding any age-related ailments and self-healing.

30. It has a maximum bite force of 18,216 newtons.

Great White Shark Facts 31-40

great white shark facts

31. When it comes to their social behavior, it shows dominance hierarchy. Bigger ones dominate smaller ones, females dominate males, etc.

32. A Great White Shark rarely gets into a fight with other Great White Sharks. It may bite to either show dominance or as a warning.

33. It is very intelligent and a very curious animal. It socializes when it is used to socialize when need arises.

34. Clans (groups of two to six sharks) of Great White Shark are seen at Sean Island every year. These clans are similar to wolf packs where each member has a designated role and rank and each clan has an alpha.

35. It is a carnivore and it prey on fish, cetaceans (dolphins, whales, etc.), sea turtles, sea otters, pinnipeds (seals, sea lions, etc.), sea birds, etc.

36. A young Great White Shark usually goes for fish as its jaw cannot take the impact of biting a cetacean or a pinniped. Adult ones prefer marine mammals.

37. It prefers energy-rich meat and it is opportunistic. It feeds on carcasses especially whale carcasses. Individual sharks have their own preference of food!

38. It uses different methods of hunting for different animals like ambush hunting for California sea lions, immobilization for northern elephant seals, etc.

39. It hunts in the mornings. Two hours after sunrise is the best time for it as the visibility still remains poor. Success rate during those two hours is 55% and it drops to 40% in the late mornings.

40. One of the interesting Great White Shark facts is that 30 kilograms of whale blubber is enough to feed a 4.5-meter white shark for 1.5 months!

Great White Shark Facts 41-50

great white shark

41. A male Great White Shark attain sexual maturity at the age of 26 years a female reaches sexual maturity at the age of 33 years.

42. It has a gestation period of 11 months and a low reproductive rate.

43. Whale carcasses are used as mating sites for Great White Sharks.

44. It is ovoviviparous. The largest number of pups (baby sharks) born in a single time are 14. The pups weigh 50 to 60 pounds and are 4 to 5 feet long at the time of birth.

45. It displays breaching behavior – where a cetacean or a shark approaches the surface of the water with high speed which results in shark partially or completely out of the water.

46. It can swim at a speed of 25 miles per hour or 40 kilometers per hour while breaching.

47. Orca is the natural predator of Great White Sharks. Other than them, there is no natural predator.

48. It is considered as vulnerable as per IUCN. North America, New Zealand and Australia have laws which protects Great White Sharks from fishing and killing.

49. Great White Sharks live for more than 70 years!

50. You might be really scared of them thanks to the movie Jaws and to add to it, of all the sharks, Great White Shark is the one which attacks humans the most.

Great White Shark Facts 51-60

51. However, it doesn’t target humans. In the past two centuries, the attacks of Great White Shark is non-fatal.

52. If researchers are to be believed, we are too bony for their consideration of us as a prey!

53. Great White Sharks are made for the wild. You ask us why? Because they simply can’t survive in captivity. The sharks stay alive for just days compared to 70 years.

54. Cage diving is something that you can try if you want to go for watching sharks. Shark tourism this way works both for us and them.

55. Shark tourism also encourages the conservation of the Great White Shark. It helps in the conservation of the animal and boosts the economy.

56. It is the largest predatory fish in this world.

57. Just like all sharks, Great White Shark doesn’t have true bones.

58. It can swim at a speed of 60 kilometers per hour. It has an upper row of 23 to 28 teeth and 20 to 26 teeth on lower jaw. The teeth are serrated and can reach up to 6.6 inches height

59. It can smell a drop of blood in 100 liters of water.

60. The pups are on themselves once they are born. Their mother doesn’t care for them and may even try to eat them off! They swim off into the ocean the moment they are born.

61. Did you know that the shark’s tongue is called basihyal? It is made of cartilage and sharks use it to sample the prey to see whether the prey is as per their taste or not.

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