THE GREAT WHITE SHARK
This is the shark everyone loves to hate.
The star of Jaws! Often called the White Pointer or
White Death in Australia, this shark is the one most people
think of when the hear the word 'shark'. A large White Shark is
capable of eating a person not just biting them. The thought of being
eaten alive scares people so much that they become irrational about
anything to do with sharks. The shark is a fascinating creature, surrounded by myth and misconception. To many, sharks symbolize the very essence of ruthlessness, representing the ultimate savages of the natural world. Though many people would rather not intentionally socialize with these fearsome predators of the depths, Sharks and their direct predecessors have been swimming in the world's oceans for well over 300 million years, and were going about their business long before dinosaurs walked the Earth.
Great White is believed to live up to 100 years of age. This is
much more than was previously thought. It has always been regarded as
the most dangerous of all sharks but it is now thought that a number
of attacks by the Tiger Shark have been wrongly blamed on this
The greatest number of attacks by the Great White is
surprisingly, in California in USA. Australia runs a far third after
South Africa, but only just recently there has been two fatal attacks
occur here in 2000. Luckily, we have not had any confrontations with "The Great White" in The Rip at Pt.Phillip Heads.
Most of the largest Great Whites have
been found in South Australia and this is still one of the best spots
in the world to go and see these sharks. The largest officially
recorded was 6.4 metres (21 feet) long and weighed 3312 kg/ 7302lb.
There have been many exaggerated claims of specimens over 30 feet but
most of these have been proved to be false. It is currently believed
the maximum these sharks can grow is up to 25 feet. In 1978, a shark
was caught which was measured at 9 metres (29.5 feet) but it was not
The Great White gives birth to live young
unlike many other sharks that lay eggs. The newly born shark gets no
help from the mother and must fend for itself. A newborn
Great White is believed to be around four feet long from unborn
sharks found in a pregnant female. I did see a photos of these and
they were just like a miniature Great
White and bigger than a lot of
sharks are when adult. The smallest White shark ever caught was 47"
long and thought to be newly born. They grow about 10"/25cm each year
and reach maturity in about 10 years.
White belongs to a family called
Mackerel Sharks.There are five sharks in the family including the
Mako. I understand they got this name because their tail shape is
similar in design to the Mackerel. The Mackerel sharks along with the
Tresher shark can regulate their body temperature so they can be
warmer than the ocean temperature around them.
White has some of the most highly
developed senses of any creature including other sharks. Small holes
around the sharks head called Ampullae of Lorenzini, look like skin
pores. They are filled with a jelly like substance and it is by these
that a Great White shark can pick up electrical charges as small as
.005 microvolt. They can detect prey just by the electrical field
generated by a beating heart or gill action. They can also detect
fish that are hiding.