Main content

Great white shark

(Carcharadon carcharias)

more to this shark than just its bite

Diet

Feeds on marine mammals such as seals, sea lions, elephant seals and dolphins, but also fishes including sharks and rays.

Habitat

A species that lives in the upper 200m of the sea, inhabiting areas near shore and found mostly in temperate seas.

Fin-tastic facts

Often described as the ultimate shark, the great white needs little introduction. When hunting it relies on the element of surprise, ambushing its prey from below. The shark is warm blooded and can accelerate to speeds of over 20mph, and the speed of an attack can often send the shark breaching spectacularly out of the water in pursuit of its prey. But this much feared shark is also capable of complex social interactions. In areas where great whites gather, these sharks use subtle body language in order to communicate with each other. This prevents disputes over kills, personal space and dominance, where a serious injury from a bite could prove fatal to a shark. But by “talking it out” these clever sharks are able to work out who’s boss without ever having to touch one another. There’s more to this shark than its fearsome reputation.