Teeth, Black Eyes and Voracious Appetite – The Great White Shark

I’ve always been fascinated by the Great White shark. In fact, there’s no living thing on the planet that can fill me with as much fear as this giant predator. The thought of swimming along, and feeling those razor sharp teeth sink into my leg, moments before it thrashes its enormous head back and forth in an attempt to tear my leg off is enough to keep me awake at night.

I’m not the only one either. Peter Benchley realized this, and his book and subsequent movie, Jaws, has managed to keep a great many people up at night, clutching their blankets in fear.

But is the Great White shark as bad as the movie portrays it? Is this giant predator misunderstood?

Before answering these questions, we have to understand what makes up the Great White shark.

The average Great White shark grows to be about 10-15 feet in length. However, there are some that have grown to be over 20 feet in length. Their teeth are serrated, and they are the seas only apex predator, which means they have no natural predators. The Great White is the only animal on the planet that has managed to be untamed by man. The few that have been captured have died in captivity.

The Great White feeds primarily on large prey, such as dolphins, seals and whale carcasses. Being as big as they are, they require a lot of food to survive. They aren’t picky when it comes to their meals, and a hungry one will eat practically anything that swims into view.

The Great White shark hunts by using its sense of smell. It’s also capable of sensing minute electrical currents, which all living things exude. With these two awesome weapons at its disposal, this shark is one of the most fearsome predators to inhabit our planet.

The movie, Jaws, preys on our natural instincts when faced with a predator that is as scary as the Great White shark. However, they have only been responsible for 65 human deaths since 1876.

While this may seem like a lot, 65 human deaths in over 100 years is not that big a number. More people have died from natural disasters, such as earthquakes and tornadoes, than have been killed by the Great White.

Since 1876, the Great White has attacked, but not killed, another 242 people. This statistic shows that they don’t necessarily think of humans as a natural source of food. In fact, the human body doesn’t have enough fat. They would much rather feed on fat mammals, such as the seal.

In most cases, if a Great White bites a person, they let go and swim away. This also points to the fact that scientists believe that most human attacks are owed to mistaken identity. The Great White thinks we’re something else, such as a seal, and decides to attack.

The Great White shark relies on ambush tactics to kill its prey. You’d think that something as large and lethal would just swim in and use brute strength to kill their prey, but this isn’t the case. Instead they will try to attack from beneath, crippling their prey before dining.

While it’s a fact that the Great White is a scary and formidable predator, they’re also beautiful to behold as they glide through the oceans of the world. Our fear of them has led to a significant amount of their deaths.

Just like every animal, Great Whites perform their role in nature. Even though they scare us, they have the right to exist and share the same planet as we do. They’re also one of the few animals on the planet that defy science. Not a lot is known about them, but hopefully in the years ahead, we’ll understand them better and move away from the fear that popular fiction has instilled in us.