The Great White sharks are believed to be in existence for over 400 million years and are considered to be the largest predatory fish in the ocean. They are characterized by having a white belly and grey back. The Great White sharks face threats of extinction due to rampant poaching activities; however, they are also referred to as “living fossils” since they have survived five different events of massive animal extinction that have occurred in the history of the planet. Great whites are also known as Carcharodon carcharias in Latin.
Sharks being at the top of the food chain play a great role in maintaining the ecosystem in the oceans and regulating the health of coral reefs. These sharks are carnivorous and feed on marine fish such as whales, seals, sea turtles, dolphins, tuna, and sea otters.
1. Shark Alley
The coast of Dyer Island in South Africa hosts the majority of the Great White sharks worldwide and is often referred to as the “Shark Alley.” The seals have a home on this Island and are the shark’s favorite delicacy.
Massive Great White sharks weigh an average of 1500 to 2400 pounds, with the largest ever recorded was at 7328 pounds. The females tend to row their male counterparts.
Great white sharks are capable of growing to a length of 25 feet long.
This refers to the act of great whites jumping out of the water to catch and kill their prey, and they can reach up to 10 feet above the water surface at a speed of 25mph.
The Great White has five rows of three hundred triangular serrated teeth. In a lifetime, a great white shark would have formed and shaded around 35,000 teeth.
These sharks will go to great extents of starving to death or slamming their heads against aquarium walls if kept in captivity since they are adapted to swimming long distances, and being kept in aquariums make them stressed.
The jaws of a great white shark can grow to 25 feet in length. Sharks can detach their jaws from the skull to enable take huge bites of their prey, and this is achievable due to its upper jaw being loosely suspended by more cartilage from its skull.
They undertake their feeding activities on the very top of the ocean surface.
The great white sharks’ possess’ six senses which include touch, taste, sight, hearing, smell, and electroreception, which helps to detect vibrations in the water and hunt for prey. Electroreception may lead to great whites capsizing boats since they get attracted to electric fields generated. Electric fields are detected by the Ampullae of Lorenzini, which are a series of small sensory pores covered around the shark’s head and scattered around its body, and an active shark can contain around 1,500 Ampullae of Lorenzini on its head.
Great white sharks use different body postures to communicate, such as jaw gaping and body arching.
11. Life Span
The average lifespan of a Great White is between 30 to 70 years. Females can live up to 40 years and take 33 years to mature, while their male counterparts mature at the age of 26.
12. Tonic Immobility
When flipped onto their backs, great white sharks become static. Killer whales use this weakness to prey on them.
Great White sharks do not chew food; instead, they rip off prey and swallow it whole, and this is made easy due to their bite force of 4,000 psi. After a great feed, they can survive up to three months without a meal. They eat an average of 11 tons of food annually.
They exhibit unique and individual personalities, as evidenced by their boldness. Each great white has a unique dorsal fin.
Sharks are cannibals, and on different occasions, especially during territorial disputes, they end up eating each other.
They can detect objects in black and white but unable to see the normal colors; thus color -blind. Great white sharks have blue eyes.
Sharks are very fast and can reach speeds of 35 mph.
Sharks have no bones, but their skeletons are composed of cartilage.
Due to their great sense of smell, sharks can detect blood scent in water as far as three miles away. Moreover, when they smell the blood of another great white, they flee hundreds of miles away.
Great White sharks prefer to swim in shallow waters and stay close to the shores because of the cooler waters. Most sharks are found on the coast of every continent except Antarctica.
This is a great hunting tool for sharks to spy on their prey especially seals that hide on the rocky outcrops.
Summer is considered a mating season for sharks. They give birth to small litters of two to twelve pups at 18 months. Interestingly, Great White sharks keep eggs internally till birth. Pups measure 4 to 5 feet long at birth.
White sharks are at the brink of extinction, and this is attributed to their decline in numbers. Currently, the population of Great White sharks is estimated to be 3500 worldwide.
Unlike other fish, sharks do not have scales, but their skin is covered with minute points of teeth called Denticles.
This is a camouflage technique used by sharks to make them difficult to be spotted in the water.
Their eyes have no eyelids, and to protect them from harm, sharks roll their eyes back into their heads.
Great white sharks are cavity resistant due to the amount of fluoride covering their teeth, forming enamel called fluorapatite, which is resistant to acidic reactions caused by bacteria.
This is where the strongest and largest baby sharks eat up unfertilized eggs and other pups in their mother’s womb.
29. Solitary Hunters
Sharks prefer to live on their own and only come together during the mating season.
This is a process of external fertilization in which female sharks in captivity have been observed to have an ability to clone.