Great white shark

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File:Great white shark.jpg
A 12-foot long Great white shark photographed off the coast of Mexico. Photo by Terry Goss.

The great white shark (Carcharadon carcharias) is a large carnivorous fish considered to be dangerous to humans. Although the average size of the shark is 13 to 15 feet, sightings of sharks 20 feet long and larger are common. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest great white ever caught was 37 feet in length. The only larger sharks are the planktivorous basking shark and whale shark.


Great white sharks are found worldwide in tropical and temperate waters. They can regulate their body temperature to some degree, so as to remain active in cold water. Feeding particularly on marine mammals such as fur seals and sea lions, great white sharks typically capture their prey by giving a single devastating bite, then retreating and circling until the victim has bled to death.

Attacks on humans

Most attacks on surfers and bathers are believed to cases of mistaken identity, and they are generally not finished off, their flavor comparing poorly with that of a blubbery pinniped. However, although it is rare, there are cases of rogue individuals who were purposely attack humans. The book and film Jaws is based on these rogue individuals.

Great white sharks have recently become rare due to human persecution, and are now protected in South Africa and Australia.