Great White Shark

Great White Shark  Carcharodon carcharias

Type of Animal:
Mackerel Shark

Coastal & offshore waters w/ temps of 54-75 F, open ocean as deep as 3,937 ft, outskirts of shore waters, shallow waters,

Oceans worldwide avoiding polar/subpolar zones, absent from Atlantic areas near N Europe

2nd largest mackerel shark species (1st being basking shark), 3rd largest fish in world, has robust large conical snout, gray dorsal area (sometimes w/ brown or blue shade), white underside

Pinnipeds, otters, sea turtles, cetaceans (including large baleen whales & calves of very large species), carrion, fish (including smaller sharks & other large sharks- even members of own species & whale sharks), seabirds, squid, crocodiles

Status in Wild:

Government protections in US, New Zealand, & Australia as well as other parts of range

Solitary or packs of 2-10 sharks. Some packs hierarchical led by alpha female. 

Additional Info:

Male: 1,151-1,700 lbs
Female: 1,500-2,450 lbs
Young: 462 lbs

11-12 months

Life Span:
70 years

Body Length:
Male: 11-13 ft
Female: 15-21 ft
Young: 7 ft

Tail Length:
3 ft

Only predators of adults are orcas/killer whales. Smaller younger adults preyed on by larger adults. Juveniles/pups eaten by larger sharks.
Also called white shark & white pointer.
Males sexually mature at 26 years & females at 33 years.
Threatened due to marine pollution, accidental bycatch, coastal development, climate change, ocean acidification, overfishing, & hunting for fins/meat/teeth/jaws.
Highly migratory, traveling long distances based on seasons & water temperature.
In certain parts of range, cage-diving very popular, especially in Australia, S Africa, & Baja California.
They’re viviparous, bearing live young.
They have a superb sense of smell.

Fun Fact(s):
They can swim as fast as 35 mph in short bursts.
Largest number of reported/identified fatal unprovoked shark attacks of any species. Attacks often occur due to test biting unfamiliar objects. They seem to not like taste of humans.
These sharks have warm-blooded capabilities, including ability to maintain body temperature 15 degrees higher than surrounding water.
Rock music recordings have been used in experiments to see if they attract sharks.
Infamous due to 1975 movie Jaws.
Doesn’t do well in captivity, w/ 6.5 months being record time length at Monterey Bay Aquarium (how long 2nd one was there & 1st individual through program called Project White Shark). The aquarium has had 6 exhibited between 2004-2011, all either died or were released. Sharks were first housed in 4,000,000 gallon net pen for some time, then transferred to 3,200 gallon portable tank, eventually joining 1.2 million gallon Open Sea habitat. Program ended due to high resource intensity & casualties of tank mates.

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