Great White Shark Information TEETH TO SPAREIf great white sharks had tooth fairies, they’d be rich! A great whiteloses and replaces thousands of its teeth during its lifetime. Itsupper jaw is lined with 26 front-row teeth; its lower jaw has 24.Behind these razor-sharp points are many rows of replacementteeth. The “spares” move to the front whenever the shark loses atooth. At any one time about one-third of a shark’s teeth are in thereplacement stage. HEADS UPGreat whites are the only sharks that can hold their heads up outof the water. This ability allows them to look for potential prey atthe surface. Great white sharks usually attack from underneath,surprising their unwary prey
BOX OFFICE BULLY & SPEEDY SWIMMERSGreat white sharks are superstars. Before the Star Wars series, the 1975 movie Jaws was Hollywood’s biggest moneymaker. Jaws, about a great white on the prowl, cost $8 million to film but made $260 million in the U.S. Not bad for a fish story!Great white sharks can sprint through the water at speeds of 43miles an hour (69 kilometers an hour). That’s about 8.5 times as fastas the top Olympic swimmer. Scientists on the California coasttracked one shark as it swam all the way to Hawaii—2,400 miles(3,862 kilometers)—in only 40 days!
SPEEDY SWIMMERS & HOT ON THE TRAILGreat white sharks can sprint through the water at speeds of 43 milesan hour (69 kilometers an hour). That’s about 8.5 times as fast as thetop Olympic swimmer. Scientists on the California coast tracked one shark as it swam all the way to Hawaii—2,400 miles (3,862 kilometers)—in only 40 days!Unlike most fish, great white sharks’ bodies are warmer than theirsurroundings. The sharks’ bodies can be as much as 27.3°F(15.17°C) warmer than the water the fish swim in. A highertemperature helps the great white shark swim faster and digest itsfood more efficiently. Very useful for an animal that’s always on thego!
BIG MAMA & SNEAK ATTACKA pregnant female great white shark can carry as many as 14babies in her belly. At birth, a 5-foot-long (1.52-meter), 60-pound (22-kilogram) pup looks and acts like a miniature adult.Great whites average between 10 and 15 feet (3 and 4.6meters) long. Females tend to be bigger than males. Thelongest confirmed great white shark measured 19.5 feet (5.9meters). Male or female, they’re the world’s largest meat-eatingfish.A great white shark isn’t all white. A pale belly and darkcharcoal-gray back help the shark avoid detection by prey.Viewed from above, the shark’s dark-colored back blends withthe murky seafloor. From below, the shark’s belly matches thelight-colored surface. Sneaky!
NOT ON THE REGULAR MENU“Man-eaters?” Maybe not. Some scientists believe that great whitesharks are better described as “man-biters.” In more than half of allknown great white attacks on swimmers, sharks have taken only asingle bite before swimming away. Scientists speculate thatperhaps people just don’t taste as good as seals or sea lions!
Confirmed Unprovoked Shark Attacks • Florida – 520 • Hawaii – 104 • California – 89 • South Carolina – 52 • North Carolina – 30 • Texas – 32 • Oregon – 18 • Mississippi – 1 • Total in USA from 1670-2005: 902
What is a Shark?• Sharks are amazing fish that have been around since long before the dinosaurs existed. They live in waters all over the world, in every ocean, and even in some rivers and lakes. Unlike bony fish, sharks have no bones; their skeleton is made of cartilage, which is a tough, fibrous substance, not nearly as hard as bone. Sharks also have no swim bladder (unlike bony fish).
The Biggest SharkThe biggest shark is the whale shark (Rhincodon orRhiniodon typus), which can be up to 50 feet (15 m) long.It is a filter feeder and sieves enormous amounts ofplankton to eat through its gills as it swims. It is also thebiggest fish. The second biggest fish and shark is thebasking shark (Cetorhinus maximus) which is about 40feet (12.3 m) long and is another filter feeder.The biggest meat-eating sharks are the Greenland sharkand the Great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias)which grow to be up to 21 feet (6.4 m) long. Great whitesup to 37 feet (11.3 m) long have been reported, but notverified.
SCARIEST SHARK EVER (NOW EXTINCT)The largest shark known was the Megalodon (Carcharodon or Carcharocles megalodon); it isnow extinct. It was an ancient, meat-eating sharkthat lived between 25 million and 1.6 millionyears ago. It was up to 40 feet (12 m) long and itsteeth were each the size of a persons hand!
Smallest Sharks• Dwarf Lanternfish (Etmopterus perryi), which is about 7 1/2 to 8 inches (19 - 20 cm) long for fully-grown females and 6 to 7 inches (16 - 17.5 cm) long for adult males• Spined pygmy shark (Squaliolus laticaudus), which is about 8 inches (21 cm) long for fully-grown females and 7 inches (18 cm) long for males• Pygmy ribbontail catshark (Eridacnis radcliffei) , which is about 6 to 7 inches (15 - 16 cm) long for fully-grown females and 7 to 7 1/2 inches (18 - 19 cm) long for males.
MOST DANGEROUSThe oceanic white-tipped sharks are themost fearless predators. Jacques-YvesCousteau says that it is: "the only speciesof shark that is never frightened by theapproach of a diver, and they are the mostdangerous of all sharks."
FASTESTThe fastest swimming sharks are the mako sharksand blue sharks, which can even leap out of thewater. They are also among the fastest fish.Estimates of their speed varies; some say thatthey can swim at about 60 miles per hour (97kph), while more conservative estimates areabout 22 mph (35 kph). There hasnt been enoughobservation of their speeds to have a definitiveanswer.
BIGGEST MOUTHThe whale shark has the biggest mouthamong sharks.
LONGEST TAILThe thresher sharks have the longest tail amongsharks; the upper lobe of their tails are about thesame length as their bodies.
STRONGEST SHARK BITEThe strongest shark bite belongs to thedusky shark (Carcharhinus obscurus); itsjaws have been measured to exert 132pounds (60 kg) of force per tooth (JamesSnodgrass and Perry Gilbert, 1965).
MOST COMMON SHARKThe piked dogfish shark (Squalusacanthias) is very abundant, especially inthe North Atlantic Ocean. It is a smallshark, about 63 inches (1.6 m) long.
LARGEST EGGSThe whale shark was long thought to beoviparous (an egg 14 inches (36 cm) long wasfound in the Gulf of Mexico in 1953; this wouldbe the largest egg in the world). Recently,pregnant females have been found containinghundreds of pups. Whale sharks are viviparous,giving birth to live young. Newborns are over 2feet (60 cm) long.
DEEPEST DIVERThe Portuguese shark dives down over 9,000 feet(2750 m). This is over 1.5 miles.
LONGEST MIGRATIONThe Blue shark had been known to migratefrom 1,200-1,700 miles (2000-3000 km) ina seasonal journey from New York state inthe USA to Brazil.
LARGEST LITTEROne Blue shark was found with 135 pupsin her uterus.
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