Great White Shark

Scientific Name - Carcharodon carcharias

Made famous in the media and film, the Great White Shark is known and feared world wide. A product of 350 million years of evolution, the Great White is perfectly adapted to it's environment and should have no one to fear - apart from man. Largely misunderstood, this species has been over hunted and the future of the Great White on this planet is uncertain.

Scientific Classification

  • Order: Lamniformes
  • Family: Lamnidae
  • Genus: Carcharodon
  • Species: carcharias
  • Scientific Name: Carcharodon carcharias

Life Expectancy

Nobody can be certain of the typical lifespan of a Great White Shark. Various scientific evidence suggests around 30 to 40 years, although it is not unreasonable for a large marine animal to live longer.

Dangerous to Man?

Since accurate records began in 1876, there have been an estimated 224 attacks on humans by Great White Sharks resulting in 63 fatalities (source).

The Great White is often feared as a man eater, although the truth is that the shark confuses the victim with it's normal prey - this is backed up by the fact that victims are typically bitten and released, not eaten.

Conservation Status

Vulnerable (IUCN)


The average length of a Great White shark is 4 to 5 metres, with females being generally larger than males.

Despite various claims otherwise, scientists generally agree that the maximum size of a Great White shark is 6m to 6.5m


A Great White shark is able to reproduce when grown to a length of about 3.8 meters for a male and 4.5 meters for a female. Little is known of the mating habits and rituals.

The Great White Shark is ovoviviparous, meaning the eggs develop and hatch in the females uterus. When born the offspring are about 1.5m long and perfectly capable predators.

A female Great White Shark will give typically give birth to 8 or 9 pups.


Great White sharks typically eat fish, other sharks, sea lions, seals, sea-birds, small whales, turtles, porpoises and carrion.

Other Names

White Pointer, White Death


Great white sharks have a top swimming speead of 25mph. When attacking prey a burst speed of 35mph is possible.


A Great White shark can reach a weight of around 3180kg. Females will typically weigh more than males.



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