How often have you come across all these interesting great white sharks facts. The great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) is one of the most fearsome marine predators under water. These sharks were once believed to be savage sea monsters with an appetite for human flesh. Being large predators, great white sharks play a pivotal role in keeping the ocean’s ecosystem balanced.
They are primarily found in coastal waters occupying all the major oceans. The great white sharks can grow to a size of 6 meters (20 feet), and weigh around 2,268 kg (5,000 lb). Scientists are rather more concerned about the behavior and life history of these sharks. Still there are certain things about these monsters that are yet to be discovered. For instance how long does it live? How many of them are left in the ocean? These species become mature at the age 15 years. Great white sharks have a gestation period of 11 months.
Great White Sharks Facts
Going back to four hundred million years ago, an ancient sharklike fish appeared in the Devonian seas. Many sharks known today are believed to have emerged about 64 million years ago in the dinosaur’s era. Another species that ever existed named Megatooth shark ruled over 13.5 million years ranging from the Middle Miocene to the Late Pliocene Era. The megatooth shark was deemed to be a relative of great white shark and for a time, they both coexisted.
According to scientists, the megatooth shark was as large as 40 feet (12.2 meters). They had enormous teeth with the length measuring at 6.8 inches (17 cm) from base to tip, with the width up to 6 inches (15 cm). However, the great white sharks teeth are fairly bigger with the size of 2.4 inches (6 cm). Scientists also hold that great white shark share many traits with the ancient extinct sharks that also help us understand the behavior of those extinct sharks.
Classification | Great White Sharks Facts
Of all the extant species of sharks, great white shark is the fiercest marine predator. There are around 370 recognized shark species worldwide. Many sharks are inhabited near the water surface while others live in depths of the sea. The great white sharks are readily found in shallow water and are associated with the mackerel shark family, in the order Lamniformes. These sharks are called for several different names such as white pointer, white shark, white death, and man-eater. Scientists often use shark’s scientific name to devoid any confusion.
Size | Great White Sharks Facts
As mentioned above, great white sharks are the largest marine predators that are often referred to as the ghost of the sea. The length of the males measure around 18 feet (5.5 meters), while females grow fairly larger.
The largest specimen ever recorded was measured at 22.4 feet (7 feet) in length with the weight up to 4,000 pounds (1,814 kg). Despite its enormous size, great white shark is not ranked as the biggest shark in the world. The gigantic whale shark is the largest fish under water.
The whale shark can grow to a length of 60 feet (18 meters). Scientists are still confused as to which type of shark is the smallest species. The length of the spiny pygmy shark measures around 9.8 inches (25 cm) in length. This is equivalent to the size of cigar.
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Lifespan | Great White Sharks Facts
Scientists measure the shark’s age by counting the number of rings that shape its vertebrae, similar to a way in which one count rings on a tree to tell its age. According to conservationists or scientists, the great white shark begins to breed at the age of 9 years to 23 years. The lifespan of great white sharks is likely to be less than 30 years.
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These sharks display a torpedo-shaped body along with the large crescent-like tail fin. The body shape is quite similar to other fast-swimming fish such as tuna.
The great white shark is not completely white rather it displays a dark blue to the greyish brown color at the back. The belly is mostly off white. The coloration is called countershading which helps to camouflage them in the deep sea waters. There are also markings on the undersides of pectoral fins of great white sharks. These fins are employed to navigate shark through the water. Each species has its unique markings.
Read More: What do Great White Sharks Eat?
Special Adaptations | Great White Sharks Facts
Unlike bony fish, great white shark’s skin is covered with the dermal denticles. These are the teeth that are made of same stuff as those of jaws teeth. Apart from protection, denticles are also effective in streamlining the shark’s body as it point towards the tail. They have a fairly smooth skin which can be observed whenever you rub your hand back and forth on it. It’s the dermal denticles that make it feel too rough.
The shark’s eyes are perfectly featured to give it an advantage over most of its prey. There are thousands of behind the retina of each eye known as tapetum lucidum. These plates reflect light back through the retina, arousing it twice with each ray of light. This allows shark to visualize its prey even in dim light. Cats and other nocturnal hunters also employ this kind of special adaptation.
There are some sharks that have third lid on each eye known as nictitating membrane. This eyelid tends to protect the shark’s eye from injury. Great white shark lacks nictitating membranes.
Read More: Where Do Great White Sharks Live?
Jaws and Teeth | Great White Sharks Facts
Unlike human jaws which are affixed to their skulls, shark’s jaws are help strongly in place by ligaments. A shark, when attempts to bite its prey, drops and pushes its jaw forward to ensure the prey does not escape. The shark’s teeth become slanted when its mouth is closed. They will again become straight soon after the jaw is opened. Sharks are incapable to chew its food instead it bites only.
Read More: How do Great White Sharks Hunt?
The shark’s teeth constantly falls down which are replaced by new ones to the front of the jaw. The small sharks replace their teeth after every 7 to 8 days, but for larger sharks tooth replacement may take 6 to 12 months. A great white shark is known to lose more than a thousand teeth during its entire life.
The great white shark’s teeth are triangular shaped with the length measuring at 2.4 inches (6 cm). They have 26 wide teeth that are held in the front row of its upper jaw, while the lower jaw supports 24 narrower teeth. Great white sharks typically use 98 teeth while biting.
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More Special Adaptations
Great white sharks are capable to hold their own metabolic heat. They are capable to raise the temperature of their brain, eyes, organs, and muscles between 14.4 and 23.7 Fahrenheit which is fairly higher than the water temperature. Consequently, these sharks are more active, stronger and faster predators as against their other counterparts. Higher temperatures allow the shark’s body to function more efficiently and enable them to cruise long distances at reasonably low speeds. One of the great white sharks observed by researchers swam at 2 miles per hour (3.2 kph).
A shark can go by number of days without eating because of the fact they have camel-like store to preserve nutrients. They have a gigantic liver that covers 24 per cent of its entire weight.
What Do Great White Sharks Eat | Great White Sharks Facts
Great white sharks are carnivorous and they primarily prey on fish including rays, tuna and other sharks; cetaceans such as whales, porpoises, dolphins; sea turtles such as seabirds, sea otters; pinnipeds such as fur seals, sea lions, and seals. They are also known to consume objects. They start preying marine mammals whey they reach 4 meters (13 feet).