White Shark - Characteristics, Feeding and Conservation

White shark: find out what this animal is like, its physical characteristics, character, behavior, etc. Sharks are considered top marine predators. Actually,...

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Sharks are considered great marine predators. In fact, white sharks are apex species, as they have virtually no natural predators. The white shark, whose scientific name is Carcharodon carcharias, is part of this group. With its large size and voracity, it is a species particularly feared by men.

It is a cartilaginous fish, of the order Lamniformes and of the family Lamnidae, which has unique customs that are not present in other sharks.Likewise, it is very perceptive, which makes it capable of detecting its prey at great distances. However, this shark is currently affected by human intervention, an aspect which is, unfortunately, redundant with regard to the demographic decline of animal biodiversity. If you want to know more about the great white shark, its curiosities and its current state of conservation, continue reading this PlanèteAnimal file!


  • Africa
  • America
  • Asia
  • Europe
  • Oceania

Characteristics of the white shark

" One of the most common doubts that arise when looking for information about this spectacular animal is: How big is the white shark?. The white shark is a large fish, with a robust spindle-shaped body, which makes it aerodynamic and allows it to reach great speeds.Females are larger than males, so they reach around 6m, while males are around 4m. However, it should be noted that there are reports of larger individuals. Usually they weigh more than a ton."

Besides its imposing size, another of the most significant characteristics of the great white shark is its skin tone. It is white in the ventral area, and its dorsal fin is gray, although this color varies from individual to individual. It has two large pectoral fins, as well as two small ones located near the caudal area, an area in which there is also another well-developed fin. Likewise, it has a large fin at the back and two small ones near the tail.

The mouth of the white shark is commensurate with its size and ferocity. Its mouth is very large and can measure up to 1 m wide, its jaw is very powerful and it can open it very widely.In its mouth are two main rows of teeth, behind which are two or three additional rows that will replace frequently lost teeth.

White sharks have several highly developed senses, they can perceive vibrations, electric fields and even smell a drop of blood from miles away and, if that wasn't enough, they have good vision.

Where does the white shark live? - Habitat

The white shark is a cosmopolitan species, with a wide global distribution, so it is present in virtually all tropical and cold temperate marine waters of the three great oceans: Atlantic, Pacific and Indian. Some of the coastlines where it is possible to locate it are:

  • California
  • Alaska
  • East Coast USA
  • Gulf of Mexico
  • Hawaii
  • South America
  • South Africa
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Mediterranean Sea
  • West Africa
  • Japan
  • China

The habitat of the great white shark is near coastal areas, but also in the open sea, that is to say in the open sea. It is therefore a mainly pelagic species. It has a preference for temperate waters and can live both near the surface and at depths of around 1200m.

Habits of the white shark

It is a generally solitary species, however, there are reports that they can go in pairs or in small groups, so in these cases it is believed that the hierarchy that operates in this group is mainly based on the size of the individuals. It has diurnal and nocturnal habits and exhibits high migratory behavior.

The white shark tends to hunt at dawn or dusk when the sun's rays are weak and it can camouflage itself, as it tends to ambush its prey from below and , due to the dark coloring on the back, it is not easily visible from the surface. When hunting, it has a habit of swimming very quickly to catch its prey and it is even able to propel itself out of the water and then submerge again. On the other hand, it's a very curious animal that can stick its head out of the water to see what's going on.

White Shark Feeding

White sharks are carnivorous animals, however, they do not eat the same thing at all stages of their life. These sharks, when young, have a different diet than adults. During their first years of life they feed on other small sharks, shrimps and rays, but as they grow their diet changes considerably.Thus, adult white sharks prefer to eat seals, sea lions and elephant seals, penguins, whales, dolphins, birds and turtles. In some cases, the white shark can be a scavenger that will take advantage of the bodies of dead whales it finds on its way.

These sharks are very agile when hunting and they are able to camouflage themselves easily, as they are difficult to distinguish from above or below due to their opposite colors, especially at certain times of the season. daytime. They stalk their prey and hunt them by surprise, in addition, they use their powerful jaws to capture the victim, who will not be able to escape.

Contrary to popular belief, the white shark does not really like human flesh, in fact, human meat is even thought to be unpalatable to the white shark which needs fatty prey. In this sense, the attacks of white sharks on people that occur are unfortunate events that have more to do with a human surprising a white shark who ends up feeling threatened.

Reproduction of the white shark

Studies are lacking to be able to confirm certain aspects of the reproduction of the great white shark with precision. They have internal fertilization like the rest of the sharks and it is assumed that the male can bite the female during mating; It is also believed that clashes occur between the males to mate with the female. All these data are known from the different scars that have normally been found on these animals, which in the case of females are usually recurrent on the back, as well as on the pectoral fins.

Gestation is estimated to be around 12 months, giving birth between 2 to 10 offspring, which develop ovoviviparously. In this sense, they remain in the mother until the moment of birth, when they are expelled fully developed and able to be independent. The young, when inside the womb feed on their own egg, but when they leave it, they can also eat their less developed siblings and even those that have not yet hatched from the womb. 'egg.

How long does a white shark live?

In recent years, it has been discovered that the white shark is a long-lived animal. The average life expectancy of the white shark is around 70 years, which is why its sexual maturity comes quite late. Thus, males mature sexually at 10 years old, while females do so between 14 and 15 years old, approximately.

Conservation status of the white shark

Is the white shark in danger of extinction? The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has declared the white shark as vulnerable, due to its declining population trend. The main cause that affects this animal is the accidental capture in large fishing nets which causes its death.

Also, this shark is hunted for its fins and jaws, which are used as ornaments or trophies. It is also common for their meat to be consumed on the international market, resulting in the capture of these animals to amputate their fins and return them to their habitat, guaranteeing them a death full of suffering.

Despite the existence of several international treaties for the protection of the species, many of them have failed and they have not had the desired effect.

White shark pictures

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