Monday, July 12, 2010

Ten Great White Shark Facts

1. Great white sharks inhabit temperate waters worldwide, primarily along coastlines. Though not abundant, they are most frequently sighted off the coasts of the United States, Australia, and South Africa

2. Great white sharks grow about 10 inches per year and can grow to mature lengths of 12 to 20 feet

3. The razor sharp jaws of a great white shark can exert bite pressures of up to 2,000 lbs. per sq. inch.

4. Scientists estimate that great white sharks can go as long as three months without eating.

5. A great white shark loses and replaces thousands of its teeth during its lifetime. Its upper jaw is lined with 26 front-row teeth; its lower jaw has 24.  Behind these razor-sharp points are many rows of replacement teeth.  These “spare teeth” move to the front whenever the shark loses a tooth.   At any one time about one-third of a shark’s teeth are in the replacement stage.

6. Unlike most other sharks, white sharks actually maintain parts of their body (swimming muscles and stomach) at temperatures well above that of the surrounding water, which classifies them as endothermic or warm-blooded, like mammals.

7. Great white sharks have a white belly and a grey back.  This coloration makes it difficult for prey to spot the shark because it breaks up the shark's outline when seen from a lateral perspective.  When viewed from above, the darker shade blends in with the sea.  This obliterative counter shading is a form of camouflage that makes them hard to see when they are in mid-water.

8. Great white sharks are ambush predators whose modis operandi it to attack prey from below.  Marine scientists believe that white shark attacks on humans are probably a case of mistaken identity by young, inexperienced sharks targeting what they think are seals or sea lions.

9. The white sharks diet consists primarily of tuna, squid, seals, elephant seals, sea lions, dolphins, whale carcasses, sea turtles, sharks and carrion, they are nonetheless labeled as man-eaters.

10. Between 1999 and 2000, shark researchers attached "pop-up" satellite tags to the backs of six adult white sharks near seal rookeries in California.  The electronic tags recorded data every two minutes on water depth, temperature and light.  Satellite data revealed that one of these tagged white sharks migrated from California’s coastal waters to the Hawaiian island of Kahoolawe, a journey of over 3,800 kilometers (2,280 miles).   Traveling at a minimum velocity of 71 kilometers (43 miles) per day, the animal remained in Hawaiian waters the entire winter and spring.


Nick Hawkes said...

I like your facts! To add to your great white teeth fact, did you know in its lifetime a great white shark can go through as many as 3000 teeth! Thats a lot!

That was taken from 100 Facts Sharks found at

You can find plenty more cool facts and other fact books there!