Great white sharks are some of the most majestic creatures in existence. While many people know them for their predatory abilities, they are so much more than just highly tuned killing machines. Sharks have an astounding array of unique characteristics that make them some of the most fascinating creatures in the water.
Here are 15 incredible things you might not have known about great white sharks.
1. They’re super fast
Great whites can reach a speed of over 25 miles per hour. While that might not sound like a lot, it’s incredible quick for the water. The great white is rivaled only by creatures like the marlin, which can reach speeds over 80 miles per hour.
2. Vending machines?
It’s not just an urban legend. Statistics prove that vending machines kill more people per year than great white sharks in the US. Since the year 2000, there have been just five fatal attacks by great whites.
3. The biggest predatory fish
Great white sharks are the biggest predatory fish on the planet. They generally grow to around 4.5 meters long, but some can reach lengths of around 6 meters — around half the size of a city bus.
Great whites have over 300 triangular teeth. These incredibly sharp teeth are arranged in about seven rows. These animals are specifically designed to be highly efficient killing machines, and the most deadly part of their anatomy is certainly their jaws and teeth.
5. Changing Diets
When great whites are young, they generally eat smaller fish like rays. Adult sharks have a different tooth shape, allowing them to feed on larger marine mammals that can better support their caloric needs. They eat mammals like sea lions and even whales.
6. Sense of smell
A great white shark’s sense of smell is so highly tuned that it can detect a colony of seals over two miles away. In a span of water around 100 liters, a great white souls smell a single drop of blood.
7. Sneak attack
Great whites like to attach their prey by swimming up underneath them. They often propel through the water at such a great speed that they breach the surface with their prey in their mouth before returning to the water.
8. Not the best moms
Great white mothers normally have around two babies called “pups.” However, share aren’t known for their maternal nature. A mother shark will show no regard for her young ones and allow them to immediately swim off into the ocean.
9. They’re a vulnerable species
Illegal game hunting and overfishing have caused great white sharks to be placed on several lists of endangered or vulnerable species. Without the effect of humans on great whites, they would likely face little to no dangers in the open ocean.
10. Migration Periods
Great whites, like many other ocean-dwelling animals, are migratory creatures. Most male great whites arrive to the Farallon islands off of the coast of California and the coast of Mexico in the late summer.
11. Important ecosystem balance
Great whites play a crucial role in keeping the ecosystem healthy and balanced in the ocean environment. Like other predators, they ensure that one species does not begin to overpopulate and throw off the balance of the ecosystem.
12. Long lives
Great whites usually live to around 30 years, but some older sharks have been recorded as living as long as 80 years. They don’t reach full maturity until their teen years.
13. Shark Attack
If you see a great white and you happen to be in the water with it, the best thing to do s to get out of the water as quickly and calmly as possible. It’s best to avoid splashing, as that could attract the shark’s attention.
Sharks often live in peace with other marine creatures. Some smaller species of fish swim along with sharks and defend them from parasites.
15. No bones?
Like other sharks, great whites have no bones at all. This is partially what allows them to be so athletic and flexible. Their skeletons are made up completely of cartilage.
Great whites are some of the most majestic creatures in the ocean. If you ever get a chance to see one, you can appreciate them for the unique ocean dwellers that they are.