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The Great White Shark - The World's Largest Underwater Predator

The Great White shark is undeniably the most-feared animal in the world considering its immense figure, menacing face, and its razor-shaped teeth. Mostly, it's feared due to reported cases of its attacks on humans, and movies characterising them as antagonist.

As a result, they have earned various notorious names such as 'Killer Machines' and 'Man-eaters.' Are the Great Whites a threat to humans despite some of their attacks being fatal? Scientists are of the opinion this magnificent animal has earned a bad reputation thanks to misinformation revolving around them.

What is so far-knowm about the Great White shark?

Great White Shark Cave Diving

Great White Shark Cave Diving

It's Length

The average length of the Great White shark is 11-13 feet. Some of the recorded great whites have reached up to 25 feet in length.

Their weight varies from 1,500-1,814kg on average with some weighing as much as 3,175kg.

The Composition of Great White Shark’s Teeth

An adult Great white shark’s teeth measures one-and-half inches to two inches long. In rare cases, their teeth can reach to a length of two-and-half inches long.

They are razor-sharped, triangular in shape, and the edges are serrated.

A Great White shark has up to 300 teeth. It can lose more than 100 teeth in its lifetime.

The Composition of Great White Shark’s Teeth

An adult Great white shark’s teeth measures one-and-half inches to two inches long though in rare cases their teeth can reach to lengths of two-and-half inches long.

What is perhaps feared the most of this animal more than its menacing figure is its teeth. The teeth are long, razor-shaped and the edges are serrated. The teeth are triangular in shape.

Great White sharks have 300 teeth and can lose more than 100 teeth in their lifetime.

Sea Divers Swim with Mammoth Great White Shark

Sea Divers Swim with Mammoth Great White Shark

Reproduction

Male and female white sharks mature at different times. Males mature earlier than females. Males mature at around 9 years while females mature at the age of 13-15 years. The females breed late, in their early 20s.

Not much is known about white sharks especially their reproductive process. The little known fact about the female white shark is that it gives birth through ovoviviparous. This is explained by Dictionary.com as “producing eggs that are hatched within the body, so that the young are born alive but without placental attachment, as certain reptiles or fishes.”

Howstuffworks clearly explains how this process takes place: “The great white shark is ovoviviparous, which means that the shark grows in an egg, which is then hatched inside the mother. Shortly thereafter, the shark pup is born. While in the womb, great white shark embryos feast on unfertilized eggs, a practice known as oophagy. It doesn’t appear that they eat the fertilized eggs, as a few other species of shark have been known to do, but they may swallow their own teeth when they lose them for calcium.”

The gestation period of a female white shark is unknown though scientists place the duration between 12 to 18 months. A female white shark gives birth to 2-10 pups though there are records of females giving birth to a litter size of more than 15 pups. At birth, the pups weigh 35kg at a length of 5 feet.

How the Great Whites Attack Their Prey

When a white shark sights a prey, it swims quickly towards it from behind, and underneath the cover of water. It attacks the prey by shaking and spinning it, and leaves the prey to die; having torn a large chunk of meat from it. When the prey dies, it feeds on the carcass by either swallowing the whole of the prey or taking large bites of meat.

A Great White shark normally swims at 2mph but when they want to attack or catch a prey, they swim at a speed of 15mph.

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Great Whites attack a prey with their eyes closed by rolling them into sockets. This is to protect their eyes from getting damaged or scratched.

Scientists believe after a Great White eats a large meal, it can stay three meals without consuming another one.

Their hunting skills is perfected by their sense of the location of a prey. This is made possible by their high receptive senses, including electromagnetic sense. They can sense vibration emitted by a prey’s heart beat, and smell a prey at a distance of hundred kilometers.

The Biggest Great White Shark

Misconceptions and Interesting Facts of Great White Sharks

One of the misconceptions surrounding the Great White Shark is that it is a monster. According to observations and studies done on this breed of shark, the great whites are not monsters as people tend to believe. This mammal is reputed for attacking humans without mercy. What many do not know is that the Great White shark has interesting aspects in contrast to its fearsome figure. When it realizes it has attacked a human being it leaves them alone knowing it miscalculated - confusing a man from the animals it normally feeds on. The sea animals it feeds on include sea lion and elephant seal which have a lot of fat as opposed to humans whose bodies are composed of more bones than fat.

An interesting fact about this mammal is that they do not fight for food which could be consumed by or fit one of them. In case two sharks happen to find the food at the same time, they would enter into a contest to see who would go away with the food. The two sharks swim against each other, slapping the water with their tails as they direct the splash of water to each other. The shark that will claim the prize is the one that delivers the most tail slaps. The more the tail slaps the higher the chance to win a meal.

The average lifespan of the Great White Shark is about 25 years. They can live up to 70 years.

It is estimated around 10,000 Great White Sharks are alive in the entire world. The reason for their low population is attributed to their being hunt by humans for their teeth and body fat.

Misconceptions and Interesting Facts of Great White Sharks

One of the misconceptions surrounding the Great White Shark is that it is a monster. According to observations and studies done on this breed of shark, the great whites are not monsters as people tend to believe. This mammal is reputed for attacking humans without mercy. What many do not know is that the Great White shark has interesting aspects in contrast to its fearsome figure. When it realizes it has attacked a human being it leaves him/her alone knowing it miscalculated. This means the shark confused the man from the animals it normally feeds on. The sea animals it feeds on include sea lion and elephant seal which have a lot of fat as opposed to humans whose bodies are composed of more bones than fat.

© 2011 Alianess Benny Njuguna

Comments

Rafael on February 21, 2013:

I have good news for shark fans, the orca killing a great white shark video was actually an orca killing a lemon or bull shark, they are not the biggest or strongest sharks, orcas never kill great whites, but great whites may eat baby and teenager orcas.

Alianess Benny Njuguna (author) from Nairobi, Kenya on August 15, 2011:

Will check it out and let you know

The Logician from then to now on on August 14, 2011:

Do you know why great white sharks will swim around people in the ocean a few times with just the tip of their fins showing first and then a few times with all of their fins showing before they eat them?

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Cause people taste better to the sharks with the $#*% scared out of them. :-)

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