The Great White Shark
Despite its fearsome reputation, the great white shark is suffering frighteningly at the hand of man
The great white shark gives birth to litters of two to 14 young after a gestation period around 18 months. The young measure 4 to 5 feet in length at birth.
Adult great whites prey largely on marine mammals, but juveniles eat other fishes, small sharks and rays. Juveniles’ teeth are different from those of adults to account for this change in diet.
There have been five fatal attacks by great whites in the U.S. since the turn of the millennium. Vending machines kill more people each year.
The IUCN considers the great white shark vulnerable to extinction.
The great white sharks found off California belong to a genetically distinct eastern Pacific population.
While in the womb, juvenile white sharks feed on unfertilized eggs produced by their mother in a process known as oophagy.
The longest great whites may reach 21 feet in length, three times as tall as Shaquille O’neal.
White shark numbers in the North Atlantic are estimated to have declined by 79 percent since 1986.
Female white sharks leave feeding areas and move to nursery areas to pup. Young sharks remain in these areas for some time, possibly to avoid cannibalism.
The largest shark that ever lived was a close relative of the great white. Megalodon is believed to have become extinct some 2.6 million years ago. At 60 feet in length, it was longer than a Greyhound bus and fed on whales.
The central Californian white shark population is estimated at just 219.
A great white shark was tracked swimming 2,500 miles from Mexico’s Guadalupe Island to Hawaii.
Despite the great white shark being the most widely protected shark in the world, genetic analysis of fins has shown that they are illegally caught for the global shark-fin trade.
Each individual’s dorsal fin is distinct, like our own fingerprints. One white shark off California has been sighted many times over a 22-year period.
Females reach sexual maturity at around 17 years of age and 16 feet in length.
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