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Steven Spielberg in “Jaws” showed the great white shark as the embodiment of evil. In this iconic film work, a man-eater shark is depicted, the sole purpose of which is to hunt humans and brutally murder. Shark scientists have been urging for years not to be swayed by such radical images. Bad press has led many species of sharks to the brink of extinction. Fortunately, with the shark, the tendency is quite the opposite.
Great white shark – occurrence
Contrary to appearances, the great white shark is not a shark that hugs people. On the contrary – he rather shuns the company of man, so we know relatively little about his habits.
This species of sharks is most commonly found in warm ocean waters with temperatures between 12 and 24 ° C. The white shark appears not only in temperate and tropical zones. It is most abundant off the coast of South Africa, but it is also found around countries such as:
- New Zealand,
- west coast of the United States and Hawaii.
Man-eater – what does it look like?
The great white shark is a large and massive predatory fish with a stocky and compact body. It evokes respect and even terror for a reason. Adults can reach sizes from 4 to 6 meters and weighing 2 tons. Females are much larger than males.
The term “white” comes from a pale belly, which may turn light gray in some individuals. This shark’s back is blue-gray. Sharks have short snouts, tiny eyes, and powerful jaws.
Man-eater shark – jaws
The most emotional thing about a great white shark is definitely its teeth. They can be up to 5 cm long, are triangular and end with characteristic saws. The process of replacing teeth in these fish lasts a lifetime, so the lost ones grow back sooner or later.
The strength of the jaws of a man-eating shark is also impressive. Their pressure can be up to two tons. They are made of cartilages connected by connective tissue, which allows the animal to open its jaws very wide and suck the victim inside.
Man-eater – a shark with a bad reputation
Each white shark attack on humans evokes emotions and warms up the media. It is estimated that about 100 people fall prey to these sharks every year. It is difficult to find a reliable source of these data, but it is assumed that water sports enthusiasts are most often bitten.
Contrary to popular belief, humans are not an attractive source of food for a shark. An animal attacks when it feels threatened. This is why fatal bites tend to occur rather than actually being eaten.
What does a man-eater shark eat?
The main food sources of great white sharks are marine animals, which are distinguished by their extremely fatty meat. A shark of this species is very much appreciated by seals, large sea turtles, some species of birds, and large fish. A large meal is digested over several days.
Sharks are great hunters. They have an excellent sense of smell, which allows them to sense blood and decaying carcasses from a distance. Hunting skills are also enhanced by the tremendous speed that these animals can achieve. White sharks swim at speeds of up to 50 km / h.
As the only species of shark, the great shark has the ability to jump above the water surface to catch a seal or a bird. Very sensitive senses allow him to perfectly recognize stress or panic in a potential victim.
White shark – population and protection
Great white sharks have a very bad opinion among people because of the bad press they have received from pop culture. For this reason, for decades, they were hunted (also commercial), which significantly depleted the population of the species. Gillnets on the American coast, which obstructed much of the natural food of sharks, also did not help.
However, research by scientists from Oregon State University indicates that the population of great white sharks in and around California is constantly growing. It is influenced by many factors, in particular the increase in social awareness and a prudent policy of protecting sea creatures.
The largest great white shark in history
Every now and then you can hear stories of man-eating sharks, whose body length is up to 12 meters. At the moment, however, they can be considered legends, because no one has ever filmed such an animal or described it scientifically.
The female, nicknamed Deep Blue, is currently considered to be the largest white shark. Its body length exceeded 6 m, and the fish itself was filmed in Hawaii near the island of O’ahu.
The marine biologist and model Ocean Ramsey, who swam in the company of this great shark, has had more than a dozen years of dealing with sharks. Her words largely contradict theories about dangerous beasts that lurk in human life.
Of course, sharks are huge predators that must be handled with care and respect. According to Ramsey, their largest and oldest females, however, are quite calm and peaceful towards people who do not pose a threat to them. Photos of the biologist and Deep Blue quickly spread all over the world.
Great white shark – summary
Contrary to popular belief, attacks by great white sharks on humans are not very common. Man is definitely too thin for them and is not a wholesome meal. Sharks, like most wild animals, only attack us when they feel threatened.
It is worth breaking with the stereotypes that have been implanted in us by pop culture and looking at the great white shark as a fascinating sea creature, not a bloodthirsty beast. All the problems people have with sharks are almost exclusively the result of our ill-considered actions.