Claire Corlett

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Facts: The Great White Shark

Facts: The Great White Shark


Reaching around 20 ft (6 m) long, the great
white shark is the largest living predatory fish on Earth. Great whites can be found in temperate and
sometimes tropical waters all throughout the world. Ever since the release of the 1975 movie Jaws,
great white sharks have been given a bad reputation. In reality, many more people are killed by
dogs each year than by sharks. Great white sharks can migrate long distances,
but they spend much of their time in nearshore waters close to their prey. They feed on a variety of organisms such as
seals, sea lions, dolphins, sea turtles, small sharks, large whale carcasses, bony fish,
and squid. Many of the attacks on humans are the result
of a shark mistaking a person for a seal or sea turtle. When hunting, great white sharks will often
ambush prey from below. They may even breach completely out of the
water during the attack. Their mouth contains about 300 sharp, serrated
teeth arranged in rows. Along with an excellent sense of smell, sharks
can sense the electrical fields of prey by using special sensory organs called ampullae
of Lorenzini. Female great white sharks are thought to give
live birth every few years to around 2 to 10 pups. Newborns may already be near 5 ft (1.5 m)
long at birth. Their slow reproduction and small populations
due to years of human exploitation makes great white sharks vulnerable to extinction. Today, many areas around the world have made
it illegal to fish for great white sharks. Their population is not large enough for large
scale commercial fishing. The majority of annual captures are accidental. Great white sharks are curious and they will
sometimes scavenge from fishermen’s nets or hooked fish, often resulting in their entrapment. In addition, they are still subject to illegal
poaching and sport fishing. Their fins are sold to be used in soup while
their teeth and jaws are used as trophies and curios. In the wild, great white sharks are occasionally
preyed on by killer whales. For more marine facts, click the SUBSCRIBE
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