Great White Sharks are the most incredible, powerful and underestimated creatures on the planet. Living in a capacity that humans can only attempt to explore, the ocean, they have remained mysterious to humans for generations, until now.
Shark scientists and researchers have been able to get closer and closer to the misunderstood beasts, that have often been portrayed in films and the media as human-eating monsters that should be killed and avoided at all costs. This simply isn’t the case.
Great White Sharks are the world’s largest predatory fish, and can grow to up to 20 feet long and weigh more than 5,000 lbs. They are usually found in warm waters and in most oceans around the world, except the two poles, typically you can find Great White Sharks off the coast of Australia, parts of Africa, Brazil, Japan, the Mediterranean and Hawaii.
Here are 14 amazing Great White Shark facts that prove they are one of the most fascinating creatures alive today:
The aren’t the biggest shark
The Whale Shark is actually the world’s biggest shark, but the Great White is the biggest predatory shark. The Whale Shark mostly eats krill and small fish whereas the Great White needs bigger, meatier prey to survive.
They are only responsible for five to ten attacks on humans per year
While films and media have continued to portray Great Whites as vicious man eaters, when a Great White Shark actually bites a human it usually gives them a sample bite, and then releases them. They actually have very little interest in eating humans, there isn’t enough meat on them. They usually only bite humans because they are inquisitive predators, and with their size and strength a poor, small human can still lose a leg or arm, and die as a result.
The Tiger Shark could be considered more of a threat for humans as it is more common, aggressive and can measure well over 16 feet long. This shark will eat anything, it’s not as particular as the Great White, it is so easy-going about food that it is known as the “garbage can of the sea”. With its aggression and size it has become known as a man eater, and is responsible for most of the attacks on humans in Australia and Hawaii.
They are close to becoming an endangered species
The real problem is us. Humans are responsible for lots more attacks and deaths on Great White Sharks than Great White Sharks are on humans. We have been killing Great White Sharks in large numbers and population has rapidly declined, this became popular after the Jaws phenomenon in 1975. People wanted their own “Jaws” and began recreationally fishing for Great Whites. They are currently a vulnerable species, and if overfishing and shark fishing continues they will soon become endangered.
They can swim at speeds of up to 35 mph
A Great White’s body is shaped like a torpedo, making it perfectly adapted for speeding efficiently through the water to sneak up on its prey.
They can have up to 350 teeth in their mouth at one time!
Because sharks have lots of rows of teeth, with lots of sharp teeth on each row, the Great White can have over 300 teeth at any one time. Their teeth are all replaceable so there is no danger of getting old and toothless like us. Throughout a Great White’s lifetime they can go through thousands of teeth!
They can sense blood up to three miles away
Even if it is a tiny drop of blood, meat-eatering Great White Sharks can sense it. Their olfactory bulb organ gives them the sense of small of blood and allows them to locate it efficiently, putting them at the top of the food chain in the seas.
If a Great White Shark stops moving it will drown
Great White Sharks do not have the muscles they need to pump water through their mouth, and over their gills, so they have to keep swimming to get water/oxygen over their gills and keep them alive. If they don’t, they will drown.
They eat a lot
Great White Sharks eat 11 tons of food a year – that’s 10 times more than us! They are carnivores, and their diet mostly consists of whales, sea lions, seals, turtles, and other dead animals. When they see a a hovering item they instantly become curious, this is why they often attempt to attack a surfboard, which could be mistaken for a seal or sea lion, or even a small whale.
They can live for up to 70 years
While the average life expectancy for a Great White Shark was thought to be around 23 years, scientists have recently discovered that Great White Sharks can live as long as humans, and that they take longer to reach maturity that researchers had first thought. The difficulty in distinguishing age on a Great White is however a problem, scientists use tagging to monitor certain sharks and collect data about them. As this research continues to build we will find out more and more about the lives and rituals of Great Whites.
Baby Great Whites, or pups, swallow their own teeth
Believe it or not, while the baby shark is inside the mother’s womb it swallows its own teeth for the calcium and other minerals.
They don’t actually bite much harder than humans
They may be super heavy and strong, but the actual jaw pressure of a Great White isn’t much stronger than a humans. Gators and crocs actually bite much harder than sharks, but because a Great White has razor-sharp teeth it doesn’t need a ridiculously strong jaw, it can a lot of damage without one. A Bull Shark has a stronger bite than a Great White Shark.
They don’t have eyelids
Great White Sharks roll their eyes into the back of their heads when they attack. Because they don’t have eyelids they have to protect their eyes from debris and flick in the eye from their prey.
They are fussy eaters
As mentioned above, if they don’t think the meal will contain enough fat to satisfy their diet, then they will test it with one bite, and if it fails the test, they will simply leave the meal and swim away. This is most often what happens with humans. They have strict nutritional needs and know exactly what they need from a meal.
They can jump almost 10 feet in the air
Sighted off the coast of Africa on Seal Island, Great White Sharks have been photographed breaching nearly 10 feet in the air to catch an unsuspecting seal in its mouth. An impressive technique to capture prey.
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