10 Most Amazing Facts About Great White Sharks – Iconic Predator

When we think of sharks, the great white often springs to mind as the most iconic and fearsome predator of the deep. Immortalized by the film “Jaws,” these incredible sea creatures have fascinated and terrified us for generations. But there’s much more to great whites than their reputation as fearsome hunters. In this article, we’ll dive beneath the surface to explore 10 amazing facts about great white sharks, revealing what truly sets them apart in the world of sea creatures.
Here’s ten of the most amazing facts about these beautiful creatures:

10 – The Countershading Colouring Is A Cunning Disguise

Whale shark – User:Zac Wolf (original), en:User:Stefan (cropping) [CC BY-SA 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons
When you think of great white sharks, their stealthy hunting skills might not be the first thing that comes to mind. But did you know that these cunning predators have a secret weapon up their fins? That’s right! The great white’s countershading coloring is a brilliant disguise that helps them sneak up on their prey.

So, what exactly is countershading? Picture this: great white sharks have a darker shade of gray on their dorsal (top) side and a lighter shade of white on their ventral (bottom) side. This unique coloration allows them to blend in with their surroundings while they’re on the hunt. Imagine you’re a seal swimming above a great white – from above, the shark’s dark back blends in with the deep, dark ocean below. Clever, huh?

And it’s not just great whites that use this sneaky tactic – countershading is a common feature among many marine animals, from smaller fish to even some whales! It’s a classic example of how nature has evolved to give these creatures the best possible advantage in their underwater world.

09 – Each Great White Shark Has Around 3,000 Teeth

Great White Shark
Great White Shark – By Elias Levy (Great White Shark) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Great White Sharks are superb hunters and a huge part of this is their huge jaws. Hence the film title! Each Great White has a massive mouth that is full to the brim with around 3,000 teeth. These teeth are serrated and very sharp to help it in catching and killing prey.
Each tooth is triangular in shape and should any break or fall out, they simply grow back. This is a definite advantage when you compare that to the type of teeth humans have. These 3,000 sharp gnashers are one of the reasons the Great White Shark is such a feared hunter.

08 – They Love Too Spy Hop

Scavenging on whale carcass
Scavenging on whale carcass – By Fallows C, Gallagher AJ, Hammerschlag N (2013) [CC BY 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons
One of the more interesting aspects of Great White’s behaviour is what scientists call Spy Hopping. This sort of behaviour is particular to Great White’s among sharks and they are thought to be the only shark that does it. But what is Spy Hopping?
This behaviour is where the shark will break the surface of the oceans water to detect prey. The reason is that Great White’s hunt by smell and smell travels quicker through air. By breaking the water to smell the air, the Great White can pick up on any prey faster.

07 – They Love To Breach Also

Going for a bait
Going for a bait – By Brocken Inaglory (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons
Another peculiar aspect of this shark’s behaviour is what is known as Breaching. This is another tool the shark uses when it is hunting food but this time when it is going in for the kill. In breaching, the Great White will approach its target from below at great speed.
By the time it recaches the prey, the shark is travelling around 40 km per hour and so hits it at a ferocious rate. Not only does this come as a total surprise to the unfortunate target but the way the shark jumps up out of the water as it clamps down onto it gives it no chance to react. This a famous spectacle in relation to Great White’s and one that is quite something to see.

06 – They’re Not Really Man-Eaters

Steve Backshall with Great white shark
Steve Backshall with Great white shark – By Geckochasing (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Despite the hysteria around these beasts, it is thought that Great Whites are not man-eaters by choice. Sharks prefer fatty, blubbery meals like seals and so humans are far too bony for them to enjoy. However, there is no doubt that many humans have been attacked and some killed by Great White’s so what is going on?
The main problem is that they very often mistake humans for seals especially if we are wearing wet-suits. As seals are their number one meal, they can attack humans by mistake – although this is no comfort to the humans on the receiving end! The other issue for humans is that sometimes sharks will give a light, exploratory bite to test what is in front of them. Unfortunately, as they are so powerful, even a light bite can cause us serious damage.

05 – They Will Eat Whales

GWS – By This photo by no author (There is no source) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
You might think great white sharks only have an appetite for smaller sea creatures like seals, fish, and the occasional surfer’s surfboard. But, believe it or not, these impressive predators have been known to chow down on something much larger – whales!

That’s right, folks, these fearless hunters won’t shy away from taking on the ocean’s gentle giants. Of course, they’re not just going around snacking on full-grown whales. Instead, they’re more likely to feast on a whale carcass, making the most of an easy meal when the opportunity presents itself. Talk about being resourceful!

Now, picture this jaw-dropping scene: a group of great whites, circling around a massive whale carcass, taking turns to rip off chunks of blubber and meat. It’s like an all-you-can-eat buffet, shark style! In fact, these feeding frenzies can last for days, with sharks traveling from far and wide to join the party.

04 – Female Great Whites Are Ovoviviparous

Great White Shark in South Africa
Great White Shark in South Africa – via flickr by berniedup

Although the exact reproductive process of this shark is not fully known, scientists do know that female Great Whites are what is known as ovoviviparous. This means that they give birth internally which is pretty amazing when you think about it.
In this process, the eggs are hatched inside the female Great White and kept inside her until they are strong enough. When ready, she gives birth to the pups who are then able to survive in their new watery home.

03 – Great White Shark Pups Are Oophagous

Carcharodon carcharias
Carcharodon carcharias – Via flickr by travelbagltd

We all love a young animal but don’t make the mistake of thinking Great White Shark Pups are all sweetness and light. As befits, one of the most feared predators around they are pretty ferocious, even when young.
They are Oophagous which means the stronger pups will eat the weaker eggs while still gestating inside their mother! This shows that the killer instinct is inherent in them from birth. And why they are so good at hunting when born fully.

02 – Man knows them as the fourth biggest shark

Great White Shark 2
Great White Shark 2 – By Elias Levy (Great White Shark) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Although they are truly massive especially to humans, the Great White is not actually the biggest shark out there. In fact, it comes in at fourth but while it is not the largest, it is still considered the fiercest.
But which sharks beat it in the size stakes? The biggest shark out there is the Whale Shark then it is the Basking Shark and Megamouth Shark. These are huge beasts but none of them can match the Great White in terms of hunting or its iconic status.

01 – Someone Caught the Biggest Great White Shark in Cuba

Great White Shark 3
Great White Shark 3 – By Bernard DUPONT from FRANCE (Great White Shark (Carcharodon carcharias)) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
The largest Great White caught in history was in 1945 off the coast of Cuba. The shark caught then was a huge beast as the photographs taken at the time showed. Measured at 21 feet in length and 7,000 pounds in weight! It was obviously a shark that had eaten well over its lifetime and been very successful when out hunting!
Although this is the top-end of Great White size and weight, standard Great Whites still grow to massive sizes as others that have been caught before and after prove. This size is part of the reason they are so powerful and are able to sit proud at the top of the ocean food chain.

As we resurface from our deep dive into the world of great white sharks, it’s clear that these magnificent predators are more than just the stuff of nightmares. They’re incredible hunters, powerful swimmers, and essential players in maintaining the balance of the ocean’s ecosystem. By shedding light on the lesser-known facts about these awe-inspiring creatures, we can better appreciate their role in the natural world and work to protect their future. So next time you watch “Jaws” or hear a spine-chilling shark attack story, remember that there’s always more to the tale when it comes to these fascinating sea creatures.

FAQs About Great White Sharks:

Q: How big can great white sharks grow?
A: Great white sharks can grow up to 20 feet in length and weigh as much as 5,000 pounds, although most are smaller than this.

Q: What is the typical lifespan of a great white shark?
A: Great white sharks can live for around 30 years in the wild, but some individuals have been known to live even longer.

Q: How fast can great white sharks swim?
A: Great white sharks can reach speeds of up to 25 miles per hour, making them one of the fastest fish in the ocean.

Q: Do great white sharks really attack humans often?
A: While great white sharks are responsible for the highest number of shark attacks on humans, these incidents are still extremely rare.

Q: What do great white sharks eat?
A: Great white sharks mainly feed on seals, sea lions, and other marine mammals. They also eat fish, smaller sharks, and occasionally dead whales.