Great White Sharks of False Bay, South Africa

  • Common names: Great White Shark, Great White, White Shark, White Pointer.
  • Family: Lamnidae
  • Scientific name: Carcharodon carcharias
  • Size: Great White Sharks can reach up to 6.1 m in length and weigh up to 1.9 tons. The males reach sexual maturit between 3.5 and 4.1 m, and the females at a much larger size of 4 and 5 m.
  • Coloration: The dorsal surface ranges from dark grey to light brown, while the underside is white.
  • Range/Distribution: The Great White Shark is one of the most widely distributed of all sharks and has been sighted in almost every region of the globe from cold seas to the tropics, and from coastal to oceanic seas. They are mainly found between the latitudes of 60° North and 60° South, in waters ranging in temperature between 14° C and 24° C. The highest concentrations of Great Whites are found in the vicinity of Cape Fur seal colonies.
  • Reproduction: Female Great Whites give birth to 2 – 10 live young at a time, ranging from 1.1 to 1.65 m in length, after a gestation period of around 14 to 18 months.
  • Body temperature: Great White Sharks have a counter-current heat exchange system that enables it to keep vital organs up to 14°C warmer than the surrounding water.
  • Swimming speed: During ocean crossings, Great Whites keep a minimum sustained speed of around 4.7 km per hour, but they are capable of reaching speeds of up to 50 km per hour in short bursts.
  • Teeth: Great Whites have 26 broad triangular-shaped and serrated teeth in each row of the upper jaw, and 24 more pointed teeth in the lower jaw rows.
  • Prey: Cape Fur Seals, other sharks, rays, bony fish, dolphins and whales.