Great White Shark Facts

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Did you know that....

* Great White Sharks are also known as White Sharks, Carcharodon carcharias(Latin) and White Pointer Sharks.

* Their bodies are counter-shaded with a charcoal to black, grey or even dark brown top (dorsal surface) and completely white underneath (ventral surface)

* Counter-shading makes it difficult for their prey to see them

* One of the most successful predators in the world

* Live on a diverse diet of fish, other sharks, seals, dolphins and even scavenge on dead whales

* They have many different ways to catch their food from chasing fish, to sneaking up on stingrays to attacking from below when trying to eat seals

* World's largest predatory shark/fish growing up to 6.1 metres

* Girls grow bigger than boys

* They weigh over 2000 kgs

* They have six senses: sight, smell, taste, touch, hearing and electroreception

* They can see in the day and at night and can see colour

* They don't have eyelids, but instead roll their eyes back to protect them

* Sometimes they will stick their heads out of the water which is called spyhopping

* They have the strongest smell out of all sharks and can smell one drop of blood in a million parts water

* Have taste buds inside their mouth and throat and are more fussy than other sharks like tiger sharks

* Have a lateral line made of special hair-like cells which runs from their tail to their head and can detect small water vibrations and currents

* Use their electrosense to detect the electric field given off by all living animals and can even find prey hidden under the sand

* They are sensitive to low frequency sounds as produced by struggling prey

* They can't make sound

* They use body language and smell to communicate with one another

* Deepest recorded dive was over 1200m

* Can breach out of the water over 2m into the air

* One of the most widely distributed sharks found in all oceans, except the polar seas

* Areas with the highest concentrations are Western Cape, South Africa, South Australia, West coast USA, Guadalupe Island Mexico and New Zealand

* Found near the coast and in deep oceanic waters

* Grow slowly only becoming mature after 10 years (males) and 15 years (females)

* Live for more than 60 years

* Reproduce slowly with litters of 2 - 10 baby sharks, called pups

* Gestation is thought to be over 12 months

* Give birth to live young (viviparous)

* Each pup is between 1.2 - 1.7 meters long when it is born

* There is no parental care

* Man kills over 100 million sharks a year,

* Sharks cause less than five deaths worldwide per year.

* Chairs and toasters kill more people than sharks

* Great White Sharks are Vulnerable to Extinction

(Many thanks to Alison Kock and the Save Our Seas Foundation for facts and figures about the Great White Shark)

News of Nicole can be seen here

The Save Our Seas Shark Centre:

The Save Our Seas Shark Centre is the South African branch of the Save Our Seas Foundation. Their mission is to encourage awareness, protection and conservation of sharks worldwide through research, education and awareness. The centre is based in Kalk Bay, South Africa and is open to the public. You can book an outreach programme, which includes a shark and tidal pool lesson, bring a tourist group to visit or just pop in and meet the team.

For more information, please visit Save Our Seas
Visit here for information on Save Our Seas Great White research
Visit here for information on Save Our Seas Education

Conservation status To help click
South Africa was the first country to protect the Great White Shark in 1991

They are listed as Vulnerable to Extinction by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species and on CITES Appendix II.

They are still threatened by fishing, bycatch, poaching, anti-shark measures like shark nets, loss of prey and pollution.

Shark Spotters

* have a flag system
* watch beaches between 7am and 7pm in summer and 8 am and 6pm in winter
* sightings appear on Shark Spotters
* swim on a beach where there are shark spotters on duty

For more information about the Shark Spotter flags, beaches and times please click here.

Shark Spotters is a pioneering and novel shark safety programme which seeks to find a solution to potential conflicts between sharks and people. Shark Spotters is the primary shark safety programme used in Cape Town. Shark Spotters improves beach safety through both shark warnings and emergency assistance in the event of a shark incident. It contributes to the research on shark ecology and behaviour, raises public awareness about shark related issues, and provides employment opportunities and skills development for previously disadvantaged South African's.

Just for fun :) ... I love this ... The Great White Shark Song

To See Great White Sharks:

Go shark cage diving with either of the following operators:
* Apex Shark Diving from Simonstown
* Marine Dynamics from Gansbaai