WHAT DOES THE GREAT WHITE SHARK EAT?




Many of the shark attacks on man have proved to be the work of one particular species - the great white shark. This positive identification has been made from tooth fragments recovered from shattered surf boards and damaged boats.

The great white shark is a great prize for a rod and line fisherman, who consider them to be the ultimate in catches.

They are recognised by their dorsal fin - which is high and distinctly triangular, and the crescent-shaped, powerful tail.

Sharks are killed for their sport and for their meat which is said to be tasty. However, they do retain high levels of urea in their body tissue which may be off-putting to some.


What does the great white shark eat?

As you would imagine, just about any living creature in the ocean is possible prey for the great white shark - and the larger it is, the better!

Great white sharks are carnivorous and predominantly prey on tuna, marlin and broad-bill swordfish are amongst the great white sharks favourites, while sea lions, seals and dolphins will all make acceptable snacks.

They will also take other sharks, sea turtles, sea otters, sea birds and even objects that they are unable to digest.

Upon approaching a length of nearly 4 metres (13 ft), great white sharks begin to target predominantly marine mammals for food. These sharks prefer prey with a high content of energy-rich fat.

Most great white sharks hunt alone, although a number may home in together on dead prey after blood has been released into the water after a kill.

No actual figures are available of just how much a shark will eat in a day for it will depend on each individual shark and what prey is available in the vicinity as well as the temperature of the water.

They tend to take more food in warmer waters, where their metabolic rate increases.

It is thought that the great white shark will feed at any time it comes across prey, regardless of whether it has just had a big meal or not. It can then last for some considerable time - a month or so - without any food at all if need be!

Vital to the great white sharks hunting success is its acute sense of smell, because scenting prey in the water is the sharks primary tool for finding its food.

Within the great white shark's nose-cone are thousands of tiny pin holes which make up the sharks main nerve centre.

Because of its highly developed sense of smell it is able to detect and locate minute amounts of blood in the water.

It is also believed that the great white shark possesses some form of echolocation which it uses to help locate its prey.

While great white sharks have killed humans, they typically do not target them: for example, in the Mediterranean Sea there have been 31 confirmed attacks against humans in the last two centuries, most of which were non-fatal. Many of the incidents seemed to be "test-bites". Great white sharks also test-bite buoys, flotsam, and other unfamiliar objects, and they might grab a human or a surfboard to identify what it is.

For related articles click onto:
GIANT OCEANIC MANTA RAY - Manta birostris
GREAT WHITE SHARK FACTS
LIVING DINOSAUR SHARK - The Frilled Shark
WHAT DO CHEETAHS EAT
WHAT DO DOLPHINS EAT?
WHAT DO MOUNTAIN LIONS EAT?
WHAT DOES THE GREAT WHITE SHARK EAT?
WHAT IS THE WORLD'S BIGGEST SHARK?
WHERE DO YOU FIND GREAT WHITE SHARKS?

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