The great white shark is one of the most fearsome predators in the ocean. They also happen to be the largest predatory fish on Earth. These sharks can grow to an average of 15 feet in length, but a big great white shark can exceed 20 feet and weigh up to 5,000 pounds!
Because of movies dealing with these menacing sharks, most humans believe that these creatures are more of a threat to us than they really are. As more and more scientific research emerges about these creatures, these thoughts about the great white shark are starting to disappear. Of the 100 plus annual shark attacks across the world, about one third to one half are attributed to a big great white shark. However, most of these attacks are not fatal. Research has also shown that these sharks are naturally curious creatures, and decide to “sample bite” their human victims rather than purposely hunting them as part of their diet. While this still may not be comforting to some, this research ensures that great white sharks don’t have us in mind when it’s time to eat.
With that being said, the great white shark is one of the most fascinating creatures on our planet. Sadly, this apex predator has been listed as endangered, just like many of its brethren. Let’s look at the biological makeup of a big great white shark and why these creatures need to stick around. It’s truly amazing what these creatures are capable of doing.
Facts About The Big Great White Shark
These sharks have slate-grey upper bodies in order to help them blend into their environment, but their white underbellies are the reason for the fish’s name. They are extremely efficient and quick swimmers, traveling at speeds up to 15 miles per hour. They are also known to leave the water completely, jumping into the fresh air to attack prey from underneath.
These predators of the sea have several rows of serrated, triangular teeth that are extremely vicious and brutal to their prey. On top of this, the big great white shark has an incredible sense of smell, being able to detect their prey from long distances. They also have the ability to sense the tiny electromagnetic fields emitted from their prey, which is attributed to specific organs found in their bodies. Their main prey includes animals such as sea lions, seals, small toothed whales, and even sea turtles.
These sharks are found in cool, coastal waters throughout the world. However, just like other species of shark, the amount of big great white sharks on our planet is diminishing due to overfishing and bycatch occurrences. Therefore, the species is now listed as endangered. To make matters worse, the big great white shark takes a considerable amount of time to mature, and therefore, to reproduce. The males reach maturity around age 26, while females don’t reach sexual maturity until 33 years of age. This late sexual maturity, along with slow growth and low reproductive rates, make the big great white shark a challenge to keep around.
Having this information in mind, we all must do what we can to make sure that these sharks do not disappear from the world. These animals play a pivotal role in the aquatic ecosystem. While they might be very scary looking, the great white shark’s role in our planet is too precious to be discarded.