Sharksonline's Blog

Great white shark

Posted on: March 8, 2010

Above the great white shark

When people think of sharks they think the Great white shark big jaws man-eating blood thirsty machines. They are the most feared shark ever what people do not know. You are more likely to get hit by lighting then to get attacked by a shark and that is true. Here is some facts about great white sharks

1. The Great white shark is also known as white pointer or white shark and white death

2. The Great white found in coastal surface waters in all major oceans

3. The Great white shark exceed 6 meters (20 ft) in length and 2,240 kilograms (4,940 lb) in weight

4. The Great white shark becomes sexually mature at around 15 years of age

5. Did you know the Great white shark has a lifespan of 30 to over 100 years old

6. The Great white shark eats dolphins and porpoises, whale carcasses and seals, fur seals and sea lions and rays, tuna and smaller sharks and sea turtles, Sea otters and fish, penguins are attacked at times although rarely if ever eaten

7. Did you know the Great white shark and the Megalodon led many scientists to believe they were closely related and some scientists still do believe that they are. Many scientists would place the Megalodon and white shark as distant relatives but latest research suggests that the great white shark is more closely related to the Mako shark than to the Megalodon.

8. The Great white sharks live in almost all coastal and offshore waters which have water temperature between 12 and 24 °C (54 and 75 °F), but they have been found in waters down to 12 °C (54 °F) with greater concentrations off the coasts of Southern Australia, South Africa,California, Mexico’s Isla Guadalupe and to a degree in the Central Mediterranean (particularly the Adriatic Sea) and New Zealand. One of the densest known populations is found around Dyer Island, South Africa where much shark research is conducted. It can also be found in tropical waters like those of the Caribbean, and has been recorded off Mauritius, Madagascar,Kenya, the seychelles and even the colder September waters of Massachusetts. It is an open-ocean dweller and lives between the surface and 1,280 m (4,200 ft). It is most often found close to the surface.

9. The great white shark has a robust large conical snout. The upper and lower lobes on the tail fin are approximately the same size. Great whites display counter shading, having a white underside and a Grey dorsal area (sometimes in a brown or blue shade) that gives an overall “mottled” appearance. The coloration makes it difficult for prey to spot the shark because it breaks up the shark’s outline when seen from the side. From above, the darker shade blends with the sea and from below it exposes a minimal silhouette against the sunlight. Great white sharks like many other sharks have rows of serrated teeth behind the main ones ready to replace any that break off. When the shark bites it shakes its head side to side helping the teeth saw off large chunks of flesh.

10. Males reach maturity at 3.5–4 meters (11–13 ft) and females at 4.5–5 meters (15–16 ft). Adults on average are 4–5.2 meters (13–17 ft) long and have a mass of 680–1,100 kilograms (1,500–2,400 lb). Females are generally larger than males. It is widely accepted that the great white shark can approach 6.1 m (20 ft) in length and 1,900 kg (4,200 lb) in weight.

11.  This shark’s behavior and social structure is not well understood. In South Africa white sharks have a dominance hierarchy depending on size and sex and squatter’s rights. Females dominate males larger sharks dominate smaller sharks and residents dominate newcomers. When hunting great whites tend to separate and resolve conflicts with rituals and displays. White sharks rarely resort to combat although some individuals have been found with bite marks that match those of other white sharks. This suggests that when another shark approaches too closely great whites react with a warning bite. Another possibility is that white sharks bite to show dominance. The great white shark is one of only a few sharks known to regularly lift its head above the sea surface to gaze at other objects such as prey this is known as “spy-hopping”. This behaviour has also been seen in at least one group of black-tip reef sharks. But this might be learned from interaction with humans (it is theorized that the shark may also be able to smell better this way because smell travels through air faster than through water). The white sharks are generally very curious animals display intelligence and may also turn to socializing if situation demands such. At Seal Island white sharks have been observed arriving and departing in stable “clans” of two to six individuals on yearly basis. Whether clan members are related is unknown. But they get along peacefully enough. In fact the social structure of a clan is probably most aptly compared to that of a wolf pack each member has a clearly established rank and each clan has an alpha leader. When members of different clans meet they establish social rank nonviolently through any of a fascinating variety of interactions

12. Little is known about great white shark behavior such as mating habits. Birth has never been observed but pregnant females have been examined. Great white sharks are ovoviviparous (eggs develop and hatch in the uterus and continue to develop until birth). The great white has an 11 month gestation period. The shark pup’s powerful jaws begin to develop in the first month. The unborn sharks participate in intrauterine-cannibalism stronger pups consume their weaker womb-mates. Delivery is in spring and summer. Almost nothing is known about mating behavior. Some evidence points to the near-soporific effect of a large feast (such as a whale carcass) possibly inducing mating.

13. The Great white will take a test bite  before coming back and eating their prey Great white sharks also test bite buoys, flotsam, and other unfamiliar objects and might grab a human or a surfboard to identify it. The great white shark is one of only four kind of sharks that have been involved in a significant number of fatal unprovoked attacks on humans. Other incidents seem to be cases of mistaken identity in which a shark ambushes a surfer from below believing it is a seal. Many attacks occur in waters with low visibility or other situations which impair the shark’s senses. The species appears to not like the taste of humans or at least finds the taste unfamiliar. Further research shows that they can tell in one bite whether or not the object is worth attacking. Humans for the most part are too bony for their liking. They much prefer a fat protein-rich seal.

14. Did you know Great white sharks infrequently attack and sometimes even sink boats. Only 5 of the 108 authenticated unprovoked shark attacks reported from the Pacific Coast during the Twentieth Century involved kayakers. In a few cases they have attacked boats up to 10 metres (33 ft) in length. They have bumped or knocked people overboard. Usually attacking the boat from the stern. In one case in 1936 a large shark leapt completely into the South African fishing boat Lucky Jim, knocking a crewman into the sea. Tricas and McCosker’s underwater observations suggest that sharks are attracted to boats due to the electrical fields they generate.

All of this info is from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_white_shark

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