Ever see the movie Jaws? That great white shark movie was a blockbuster hit that scared many out of going swimming at the beach… any beach, for that matter. It was, of course, blown totally out of proportion to how great white sharks actually behave. Yes, they are very formidable, fast,, and powerful. They also deserve to be respected, but they aren’t that common to come across, unless you’re in the right locale.
Below are some pretty cool facts about this incredible creature…
These super swimmers are the largest predatory fish (fish that eat other fish or animals) on our planet. On average, they grow to around 4.6m (15′) long, but some great whites have been measured at 6m (19.7′) – that’s half the length of a bus!
Quick to Judge
While most think of great whites as fearsome man-eaters, humans aren’t, in fact, on the great white’s menu. Thank goodness! There are around 5-10 attacks a year, but researchers believe that, rather than preying on humans to eat them, the sharks are instead taking a “sample bite” out of curiosity, before swimming off.
Great white sharks are grey with a white underbelly, from where they get their name. They have a streamlined shape and powerful tails that propel them through the water at over 60km (37mph) per hour!
So what do they eat? Well, when they’re young, they feed on small prey, such as fish and rays. But when they’re older and bigger, they generally feast on sea mammals such as sea lions, seals and small whales.
Any creature unlucky enough to find itself in the gob of a great white is in for a nasty shock! Because this marine beast’s mouth is equipped with a set of 300 sharp, triangular teeth arranged in up to seven rows.
Great white sharks have such an amazing sense of smell that they can detect a colony of seals two miles away. And dig this … if there was only one drop of blood in 100 liters (26 gallons) of water, a great white would smell it!
When a great white gives birth, she usually has two to ten youngsters, called “pups”. But she shows no care for her offspring – in fact, she may even try to eat them! Taking care of themselves, the newborn pups will immediately swim off into the ocean to avoid being mom’s lunch!
Great white hunting
These cunning creatures like to take their prey by surprise. They usually position themselves underneath their unsuspecting victims before swimming up and… WAM! They often burst out of the water in a leap (called a breach) before falling back in with their meal in their mouths.
It’s good to be the king
Great white sharks are at the top of the food chain and aren’t likely to be killed by other sea creatures. Sadly, however, they are under serious threat by human activity. Illegal hunting of these beautiful beasts, and overfishing, have meant that today great white sharks are an endangered species.
Not top dog any more
Another recently discovered plight of great white sharks is the predation by orcas (killer whales). Apparently, the orcas love great white shark livers. They are full of yummy nutrients.
Here is a freaky video that might make you nervous. This guy is nuts!