GREAT WHITE SHARK
Cephaloscyllium ventriosum

Habitat: White sharks are typically found in the cool waters of the continental shelves.

Average adult size: Adults can grow to be more than 20 feet long.

Natural history: With the white shark, we have reached the top of the food chain. The ultimate predator, white sharks belong to a family of sharks called the mackerel sharks. As top-level hunters, they have many adaptations for chasing prey and high-speed swimming. Whites have pointed snouts and strong, streamlined bodies. They have large gill openings for good oxygen exchange. White sharks also maintain a body temperature 3-5 degrees centigrade above the surrounding water. This elevated body temperature helps the white shark react quick and chase fast-moving prey. With these adaptations they can feed on other top-level predators. White sharks eat seals, sea lions, porpoises, tuna and other sharks. The largest white shark ever recorded was over 20 feet long and weighed more than 5,000 pounds. Females begin to give birth when they get to be 13- to14-feet long, and the pups are about 2 feet long.

Range: Worldwide, in temperate and sub-tropical seas.


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