Every weekday I will feature a new animal and some quick interesting facts about them! I will sometimes also include photos, videos, or links to articles where you can learn more.
The scientific name for great white shark is Carcharodon carcharias.
The great white shark is the largest predatory fish in the world. The whale shark and basking shark are both larger, but they are filter feeders and not predators.
Female great whites are larger than males. The largest can get up to 20 feet long and 4200 pounds. There are some reports of sharks found being 23 feet long, but they are unconfirmed. An average female is 15 to 16 feet long and 1500 to 2450 pounds. Males average 11 to 13 feet long.
Sharks are older than dinosaurs. They first appeared around 425 to 455 million years ago. Dinosaurs didn’t appear until 230 million years ago. The first modern great white shark appeared about 11 million years ago. If you want to read more, check out this article: 450 Million Years of Sharks
Great white sharks and some other lamniform sharks are partly endothermic (warm-blooded). They are able to maintain their body temperature higher than surrounding waters. This allows them to swim faster and longer in cold water. Their brains, eyes, and stomach are warmer, which allows them to function better. It also means they must eat more.
Great white sharks live in all major oceans that have a water temperature between 54 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit (12-24 Celcius). They prefer mostly cooler waters.
Larger populations can be found off the coasts of California and northeast United States, Japan, Chile, the Mediterranean, and Oceania (Australia, New Zealand, Polynesia, etc.). The highest population is found around Dyer Island, South Africa. They also migrate between Mexico and Hawaii.
They are one of the few species of sharks that have bitten and killed people. People are not their preferred food because we are too bony. Most bites are just exploratory bites or test bites to see what we are (which can be fatal to us!). They are also known to test bite surfboards, buoys, kayaks, and even boats. They are just curious!
Getting bitten is actually pretty rare. It is reported your chances are one in 3.75 million.
Read more in this National Geographic article: Great White Shark Attacks: Defanging the Myths