A great white shark swimming

Great white shark

Great white sharks are at the very top of the marine food chain. Feared as man-eaters, they are only responsible for about 5-10 attacks a year, which are rarely fatal. Great whites are ultimate predators. Powerful streamlined bodies and a mouth full of terrifyingly sharp, serrated teeth, combine with super senses that can detect a single drop of blood from over a mile away. Hiding from a great white isn't an option as they can detect and home in on small electrical discharges from hearts and gills. Unlike most other sharks, live young are born that immediately swim away.

Did you know?
The great white shark can smell a seal colony from two miles away.

Scientific name: Carcharodon carcharias

Rank: Species

Common names:

  • White death,
  • White pointer,
  • White shark

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The Great white shark can be found in a number of locations including: Africa, Australia, Europe, Mediterranean, North America, South America. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.

Great white shark size

An illustration showing the great white shark's size relative to humans.

A comparison of the great white shark's size in relation to humans.


The following habitats are found across the Great white shark distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

Conservation Status


  1. EX - Extinct
  2. EW
  3. CR - Threatened
  4. EN - Threatened
  5. VU - Threatened
  6. NT
  7. LC - Least concern

Population trend: Unknown

Year assessed: 2005

Classified by: IUCN 3.1


  1. Life
  2. Animals
  3. Vertebrates
  4. Cartilaginous fish
  5. Sharks
  6. Mackerel sharks
  7. Lamnidae
  8. Carcharodon
  9. Great white shark

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