The Great White Shark – Largest Predatory Fish

Growing up to lengths of 21 feet and weighing up to 5,000 plus pounds, the great white shark is the largest predatory fish on earth. Not only are they impressive in size, but also in appearance, speed, and power. It is no wonder why this majestic species is one of the most feared predators in the ocean.

The underside of great white sharks is white, whereas the rest of their body is a dark blue/gray. The contrast in color gives the shark an advantage while hunting. Wether prey is above or beneath, it will have difficulty seeing the shark due to more light towards the surface and less light towards the bottom.

Great whites prefer temperate coastal waters with abundant food sources. However, some migrate up to 2,500 miles each year to reach other feeding grounds. They navigate the ocean by temperature, pressure, current, and earth’s electromagnetic field.

Carcharodon carcharias (great white shark) Photo credit:

Adults primarily feed on seals, sea turtles, whales, sea lions, and dolphins. They are ambush predators, taking their prey by surprise. With a fast burst of speed (up to 25 mph) and power, a great white will charge its prey.

Oftentimes, while attempting to deliver a devastating bite, the shark and/or prey will breach (break the surface of the water; fly out). If the shark is successful, it will wait for the animal to bleed out or continue to feed, depending on the prey’s size.

Great white sharks have five rows of serrated teeth to saw through flesh and bone. When it opens its mouth, the top jaw extends forward, exposing the gums lined with teeth. They have a bite force of 669 pounds per square inch (psi).

Sharks often loose their teeth because they are rooted in cartilage instead of bone, like ours. However, new teeth lie underneath existing ones (where they grow), so once one is dislodged, it is easily replaced. Sharks go through thousands of teeth throughout their lifetime.

Jaws of death Photo credit:

Great whites are sexually dimorphic. Females grow to be significantly larger than males. For reproduction, females will be pregnant for 12 months and give birth to 2 to 10 pups.

Newborn pups are born longer than 3.3 feet. As years pass, they will significantly grow to become the largest predatory fish in the ocean.

If you want to know the chances of being attacked by a shark and/or how to minimize the risk of being attacked, read: and/or

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Sources of information:

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