50 Cool Facts About Great White Sharks

Does any other shark capture our imagination like the Great White? As the largest predatory fish in our ocean, these fearsome animals inspire awe and respect. Here are 50 cool facts about these incredible creatures:

 


 

 

  • Great White Sharks live and hunt on the coast of every continent in the world the except Antarctica.

 

 


 

 

  • They generally prefer to live in cooler waters that have temperatures ranging from 54-75° fahrenheit.

 

 


 

 

  • Most of the world’s Great White Sharks live off the coast of Dyer Island, in South Africa, this area is also referred to as “Shark Alley.”

 

 


 

 

  • Though they tend stay to close to the shore in shallower waters, they have been spotted swimming in open waters at depths of up to 3,900 feet.

 

 


 

 

  • Early fossil records show that Great White Sharks have been swimming in Earth’s oceans for around 16 million years, though scientists believe they may be much older.

 

 


 

 

  • Scientists previously thought the life expectancy of a Great White Shark was around 25 years, but a recent study shows that their life expectancy is actually around 70 years.

 

 


 

 

  • Great White Sharks weigh an average of 1,500-2,400 pounds at maturity, about one ton.

 

 


 

 

  • The heaviest Great White Shark ever recorded in the wild was estimated to weigh in at a whopping 7,328 pounds.

 

 


 

 

  • Like most shark species, female Great White Sharks grow much larger than the males.

 

 


 

 

  • Typically, Great White Sharks can grow up to 21 feet in length, though females average at 15-16 feet long and males average at 11-13 feet long.

 

 


 

 

  • The largest Great White Shark ever recorded in the wild was estimated to be 26 feet long, more than half the length of a basketball court.

 

 


 

 

  • Caught off the coast of Kangaroo Island in Australia, the largest captured Great White Shark was 23.4 feet long.

 

 


 

 

  • There have been claims of larger Great White Sharks, but they have mostly turned out to be Basking Sharks which are very similar in appearance.

 

 


 

 

  • In a single year, Great White Sharks eat average of 11 tons of food.

 

 


 

 

  • Once they have fed, Great White Sharks can go a whole three months without having to eat another meal.

 

 


 

 

  • Clocking in at speeds up to 35 mph, Great White Sharks are some of the fastest predators in the oceans.

 

 


 

 

  • Sharks have six senses: Sight, smell, touch, taste, hearing, and electroreception.

 

 


 

 

  • They use electromagnetic fields to feel vibrations in the water of potential prey.

 

 


 

 

  • In close range, they can even sense the heartbeat of immobile prey.

 

 


 

 

  • Their sense of smell is so good they can detect the scent of blood in the water from up to three miles away.

 

 


 

 

  • They do not have eyelids, instead their eyes roll back into their heads to protect them from damage when attacking prey.

 

 


 

 

  • Great White Sharks eat a wide range of animals from Elephant Seals to seabirds to even crocodiles.

 

 


 

 

  • They are also known cannibals and will eat other Great White Sharks, especially in territorial disputes.

 

 


 

 

  • A Great White Shark has a bite force of 4,000 psi, that is 10 times the bite force of a lion.

 

 


 

 

  • Though predominantly hunters, they will also scavenge and eat the carcasses of dead animals when they cannot find prey.

 

 


 

 

  • Great White Sharks tend to hunt first thing in the morning, within the first two hours of sunrise when visibility is low.

 

 


 

 

  • Utilizing a practice known as “spy-hopping,” Great White Sharks will often peak their heads above water to look for prey.

 

 


 

 

  • They can jump up to ten feet above the water surface to catch and kill prey, a behavior known as “breaching.”

 

 


 

 

  • Their average breach speed occurs at 25 mph.

 

 


 

 

  • They have been known to accidentally breach onto the decks of boats.

 

 


 

 

  • Great White Sharks use a type of camouflage called countershading that makes them hard to see in the water.

 

 


 

 

  • Inside their mouths, Great White Sharks have 5 rows of teeth with 46 teeth in each row.

 

 


 

 

  • The largest Great White Shark tooth ever found was 3.5 inches long, about the size of the palm of a human hand.

 

 


 

 

  • As sharp as knives, Great White Shark teeth are serrated to easily tear into flesh.

 

 


 

 

  • Great White Sharks do not get cavities, but they will lose and regrow hundreds of teeth in their lifetimes.

 

 


 

 

  • They tend to bite their prey, leave and let them weaken, before returning and finishing the kill.

 

 


 

 

  • Great White Sharks are also known to grab and shake their prey side to side to weaken and injure it.

 

 


 

 

  • Great White Sharks are typically solitary hunters, spending most of their lives alone except during mating season.

 

 


 

 

  • Sometimes during mating season Great White Sharks will share food, engaging in pack feeding of up to 8 sharks sharing the same meal.

 

 


 

 

  • Little is known about the mating rituals of Great White Sharks, though after copulation female sharks are often covered in bite marks.

 

 


 

 

  • Female Great White Sharks are pregnant for 11 months, giving birth to small litters of 2-12 pups.

 

 


 

 

  • Baby sharks practice oophagy, a behavior where the largest, strong pups will cannibalize the other pups inside of the womb.

 

 


 

 

  • Though an apex predator, Great White Sharks are often attacked and eaten by Killer Whales.

 

 


 

 

  • Great White Sharks become motionless when flipped on their backs, known as “tonic immobility.”

 

 


 

 

  • Killer Whales use tonic mobility to attack and kill a Great White Shark, deliberately ramming it until it flips on its back and stops breathing.

 

 


 

 

  • When Great White Sharks smell the blood of another Great White Shark, they will immediately leave the area, sometimes swimming hundreds of miles away.

 

 


 

 

  • Great White Sharks are responsible for the most attacks on people of any other species of shark, though they will not eat people.

 

 


 

 

  • Most people survive Great White Shark attacks because typically, after mistaking a person for prey, a shark will take a bite, realize their mistake, and swim away.

 

 


 

 

  • They will often attack and capsize boats because they are drawn to the electric fields they generate.

 

 


 

 

  • Great White Sharks cannot be kept in captivity because they become disoriented and will stop eating and continuously run into the aquarium walls until they die.

 

 


 

Bonus Video: 10 Facts About The Great White Shark