Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Information about the great white shark

The behaviour and the natural habits of the Carchardon Carcharias also known as the great white shark, are interesting and contrary to people's reactions, sometimes even peculiar.

  • The food menu of the great white shark is mainly containing: seals, sea lions, fish, rays, small toothed whales, dolphins, large tuna fish, sea otters, sea turtles, young sharks, salmon, hake, halibut, mackerel, seabirds, marine mammals and any dead animal floating on the surface.When the shark is hunting for a prey, it goes to the bottom of the ocean and looks for shapes at the surface. When it sees a shape that looks like any of his preys, it charges in its prey and take a first bite which both stuns the prey which is also injured and let it bleed to death. When the great white shark is certain that his prey is dead, it feeds on it an rips it into pieces and swallow them whole as a shark does not chew any food. Some big meals can satisfy it for up to two months.

  • The habitat of the great white shark is mostly situated in the temperate waters near the coast but occasionally, great white sharks have been spotted in deep and open oceans. They can swim is water as shallow as three feet deep and in some as deep as 1280 meters. In the United States of America, great white sharks are living in the ocean water from Alaska to California on the West coast and on the East coast., most of the Gulf coast and Hawaii as well. You can also find them on the coast of South Africa, Australia (exception of the North coast), New Zealand, the Mediterranean Sea, from Scandinavia down to West Africa, Japan and on the East coast from Russia down to China.

  • The reproduction of the great white shark is ovoniparous which means that the female's are fertilized inside of her and the eggs later hatch several pups (between 2 to 14 pups) fully formed which can be up to 1.5m (5 feet) in lenght. While in the womb, the pups are feeding on unfertilized eggs or weaker siblings as there is no placenta to nourish them forcing them to fend for themselves. Unlike other sharks who lay eggs, the great white shark is giving birth to live pups. As soon as the pups are born, they are on their own. The size of a newborn pup is about 4 feet long and will continue to grow about 10 inches every year until it reaches maturity at 10 years old.

  • The senses of the great white shark have very sensitive senses. One of them is the sense of smell. A great white shark can smell a drop of blood in 100 liters (25 gallons) of water. Another of its senses is the ability to detect electrical charges as small as 0.005 microvolts. It can detect its prey by the electrical field created by a beating of a heart or the action of gills. Hiding or not, a prey is not safe.

  • The migration of some great white shark females is sometimes noticed when they choose to give birth to their pups in warmer water, in autumn.

  • A great white shark in captivity will most likely survive in a tank. In 1980, a San Francisco Aquarium had a 7.5 feet great white shark in captivity. After a while, the shark's behaviour became odd due to specific problems in the tank. It began to even bump its head against the surface of the tank which would have eventually killed it but the aquarium decided to do the right thing and released the great white shark into the wild.

As you can see, the great white shark is an intriguing, mysterious and also very interesting subject to study and for some brave enough, even to observe first hand.


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