Great White Shark|
The great white shark should be seen as an important part of the marine world and not as a monster. Growing, as the white shark does, to enormous size, it is rare. There is simply not enough food around to make it common. The great white shark is the largest predatory shark -- only filter-feeding species such as the whale shark and basking shark grow larger. But just how big it gets is something of a mystery. Jaws of a great white shark, caught over a hundred years ago in Port Fairy, Australia, was described as coming from a shark 36.5 feet (11 meters) long. But in 1962, a shark scientist examined them and showed them to have come from a shark only 16.5 feet (5 meters) long. The record is still impressive. White sharks are known to get larger still, and there is evidence for them to grow up to 21 feet (6.4 meters).
The shark takes in a wide range of prey, including teleost fish, other shark species, birds and marine animals. Its powerful, jagged teeth also allow it to take great chunks out of larger prey, such as whales. White sharks will even attack dead members of their own species.
Although widespread from temperate seas to the tropics, great white sharks generally prefer cooler waters. Wherever there are large groups of seals or sea lions, white sharks are likely to be also. Known areas include the south coast of Australia, the southern reaches of the African continent and central California.