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Great White Sharks Habitat | Great White Shark Facts


Great White Sharks Habitat

Great White Shark was known best for his roles on Jaws. It is considered the most dangerous shark in the ocean. Bloodthirsty images of these majestic creatures are usually dreamed of in films and in TV ratings.

Great white sharks are the world's largest predatory fish found in all major oceans worldwide. However, they seem to prefer cold water habitats. In the northern hemisphere, great white sharks are found off the coast of California, Japan, New Zealand, and South Africa. Great white sharks are found in the southern hemisphere off Chile, Australia, and New Zealand coast.

One reason why great white sharks prefer cold water habitats is that the water is full of their favourite food: seals and sea lions. These animals congregate around areas where the water is cold, such as the coasts of California, New Zealand, and South Africa. Great white sharks will travel long distances to these areas in order to hunt their prey.

Great white sharks will also eat fish, dolphins, whales, and even other shark species. They are one of the few predators that can take on large prey items like whales. In fact, great white sharks have been known to attack and kill blue whales, which are the largest animals on Earth.

 Great white Shark

10 Great White Shark Facts

1. Great white sharks are the world's largest predator of marine life.

2. They can grow up to 6 meters in length and weigh over 2.3 Tonnes

3. Great white sharks are found in all major oceans around the world.

4. They are apex predators, meaning they have no natural predators.

5. Great white sharks are capable of swimming at speeds of up to 40 kilometres per hour.

6. They can live for up to 70 years.

7. Great white sharks are known to attack and eat other sharks, including their own species.

8. They have a highly developed sense of smell and can detect blood in the water from over 1.5 kilometres away.

9. Great white sharks are responsible for more human fatalities than any other species of shark.

10. Despite their reputation, great white sharks are not man-eaters and will typically only attack humans if they feel threatened or mistake them for prey

 white shark fin

Distribution and Habitat of Great White Sharks

Great whites are warm-blooded and live in temperate waters. Great white shark distribution is in water temperatures ranging from 12 to 24 degrees Celsius, and they can only occasionally handle living in tropical waters because the temperatures might cause them to overheat. Shark experts have seen them near the surface and at depths of 250 metres, but they usually make their homes somewhere coastline and deeper offshore areas instead of being spotted in between those two depths.

They are more populous around the US (South East California), South Africa, Japan, southern Australia and the ocean near Chile and -East Africa. The area with the greatest concentration of great white sharks is located near Dyers Island, south-Africa. Young white sharks live at lower temperatures in shallow coastal nurseries.


Great White Sharks Body Structure and Anatomy

Great white

Body Structure

Although White Sharks may look like blunt torpedos, they are actually large bulky fish. These fish have sharp conical snouts along with large dorsal and pectoral heads. In addition, their tails are quite strong, being crescent in shape. Furthermore, white sharks don't even have black and white painted abdomens; instead, the backs display dark blue-grey or brown colours in contrast.

Some of the most incredible hunters in the world are great white sharks. Their powerful muscles, excellent eye contact and innate taste for prey are a force to be reckoned with. One of their most notable features is their enormous jaws, lined with pronounced sharp teeth that can easily cut skin and puncture bones.

Anatomy and Appearance

Upper teeth Lower teeth Great White shark snouts The big white shark is large and robust, with a cone-shaped head. Its upper and lower tail lobes resemble a great white shark's snout more than those of other predatory sharks. The white share has countershading, meaning its underside is white, while the surfaces on either side of its head are coloured in shades of grey (sometimes brown or blue). These colours make it harder for prey to see the shark against the backdrop of dark water from above. From below, however, the lighter colour mix exposes a simple shadow against the sun.

Great White Teeth

The most well-known feature of great white sharks is their teeth. When humans think of these animals, the first images that come to mind are often their enormous teeth and mouths. Believe it or not, sharks can have up to 300 teeth in their mouth at one time. Great Whites are also capable of gaining 1000 teeth throughout their lifetime! The reason many people have no fear of this terrible predatory animal is because of its impressive features.

Great white shark teeth

Eye Protection

Great White sharks don't have lids over their eyes; instead, they can roll their eyes into the back of their head when needed. Without an eyelid for protection, the ocular rotation allows the entire eye socket to turn white as a form of defence. The eyeball is protected by extremely tough cartilage, which also turns white during times of duress.

Sensation of Smell

Their taste buds are so acute that they can smell even the smallest drop of blood from 3 miles away! And shark scent is about as intense as you can imagine. This helps them locate and destroy their prey with ease. But there's more: they can also detect animals' electromagnetic fields.

Sensory System

The Great White Sharks also have an innate sense of feeling called an "Ampullae of Lorenzini". Essentially, they are electroreceptors that form jelly-filled pores. These electroreceptors can be tracked using mouths. When prey moves, the Great White will be able to sense its electric field. They feel half a billion times more power than a normal voltage source. So when a shark can find your heartbeat and take a few hundred yards from your body, the shark can find your heartbeat as well. Isn't this amazing?

The Average Age of a Great White Shark

On average, great white sharks can live up to 60 years. Compared to other species of shark, the white shark takes a long time to mature. As a result, they generally have low rates of reproduction, leaving them more susceptible to extinction.


The Great White Shark Size, Reproduction & Diet

great white cagee dive

Size of a Great White Shark

Great white sharks are very large fish; the longest Great White on record was more than seven meters, but average lengths of around 6.5 meters aren't uncommon. They can weigh anywhere from two to three metric tonnes. Females tend to be larger than males; while females grow to an average length of 6.1 meters and can weigh up to 1,900 -2,250 kilograms when fully grown, males only reach 3 or 3.2 meters in length on average at maturity..

Great White Shark Reproduction

Great white sharks reproduce slowly due to their genetics, and it is unclear what other factors affect their reproduction. From our studies, we have inferred that they are also sparse in length. How do baby great whites become mothers? They are born from ovoviviparous eggs, which means the sharks grow inside the egg until they hatch inside their mother's womb. After being born, shark pups will feed on unfertilized eggs so that they can grow larger.

Great White Shark Diet - They're Not Picky Eaters.

Great White sharks are known to be carnivores, but they consume various food groups. In addition to fish, they also eat cetaceans like dolphins and small whales, molluscs, and penguins. While Great White Shark pups usually stick to eating fish because their jaws can't handle the force required to take down larger mammals like whales, their jaw bones develop more strength as they age. 

Feeding Habits

Newborn white sharks are fed by a variety of fish.

As the white shark matures and grows to be between two to three metres, they alter its diet. They begin to eat seals and other aquatic mammals instead of just fish.

By age 18, their prey includes sea turtles, shark Pinnipeds, porpoises, dolphins and small whales.


Though little is known about the specifics of white shark reproduction, we do know that they reproduce via internal fertilization. This process occurs when the male inserts one of his claspers into the female's cloaca (a multipurpose orifice used for reproduction, elimination, and respiration). The act of fertilization itself takes only a few seconds, but the entire process - from courtship to copulation to birth - can take much longer.

White sharks reach sexual maturity at around 15 years of age for males and 20 years for females. At this point, they are fully grown and can start reproducing. Mating scars have been found on the dorsal, flanks, and especially pectoral fins of mature female white sharks, which suggests that mating is not always gentle!

As with most sharks, white sharks are born alive. Once they're born, they're on their own; the mother does not provide any post-natal care. Gestation periods are thought to be around a year, but this is still largely unknown. Females give birth every two to three years.

So there you have it: the basics of white shark reproduction and sex life. Though we still have much to learn about these huge and fascinating creatures, every new discovery helps us piece together a better understanding of their place in our oceans - and in our hearts.


Great White Shark Social Behaviour and Hunting Habits

The great white shark's home is determined by the abundance of marine mammals. White sharks typically spend time near large groups of seals, sea lions and elephant seals at coastal locations in California, South Africa or South Australia.


The way social networks work and function in Great White is still relatively unknown. They typically act as lone wolves or outsiders. Those who think independently often spend large amounts of time by themselves. When an individual joins a group, they usually try to avoid conflict or competition for power.

Great white sharks are classified by their hierarchy in some areas of Africa. Female sharks usually dominate male sharks, and smaller Sharks are typically dominated by bigger ones. Showing strength, a more dominant shark may warn others to stay away from them if they are feeling threatened or want to mate. Although this does not happen often, it is still common enough that scientists have taken note of it.

Hunting behaviour & methods

Not only do Great White Sharks have a taste for seals, but they also appreciate the company of pinnipedsand dolphins. These intelligent predators typically use strategies like spotting their prey from below to make a kill.

 The Great White shark has an excellent sense of smell, hearing and vision to help it find its prey. They are very curious animals and will often investigate new and unknown objects to see if they are edible. This is why there have been so many attacks on humans recently. The sharks can investigate their potential prey in any of three ways.

White Sharks, Sea and Marine Mammals

 The white sharks' favourite prey as they grow becomes marine mammals. Its most important prey items include seals, sea lions, elephant seals, dolphins, fishes, and other shark species and mobulid rays. Marine reptiles (mostly sea turtles) are sporadically ingested. Marine birds and sea otters are inferred to be rejected as prey because these animals are commonly found to have suffered injuries from encounters with white sharks but are not known to have been ingested.

white shark eatin a seal

Why are Shark Attacks Extremely Rare?

Though great white shark attacks are extremely rare, they can be deadly. In most cases where humans are attacked, it is because the shark mistook them for prey. To a predator swimming below and looking up at the water's surface, a seal could easily be mistaken for a human silhouette with the subsequent attack being a case of mistaken identity.

Furthermore, we are aware that the white shark is entirely colourblind. Their visuality is also impaired; they cannot see elaborated images as well as we can. Therefore, the white shark will investigate and might attack with an exploratory bite. Even though it's a white shark with really big teeth and strong jaws, it doesn't necessarily mean that shark bites are lethal, as it depends on what part of the body gets bitten.

When such a shark attack happens, it's usually pretty chaotic. For example, the person might start bleeding or thrashing around in the water, which may only worsen things. They also might try to fight back against the shark, but that doesn't always work. There are a number of factors that influence whether or not the white shark will stick around or swim away.

The Important Role of the White Shark in the Eco System

At the top of the food chain, the great white shark is one of the most feared animals in the world. But despite its fearsome reputation, this predator is vital to the health of marine ecosystems.

As an apex predator, great white sharks play a crucial role in regulating the populations of other animals in the food web. By preying on seals and other aquatic mammals, great white sharks help to keep these populations in check. This indirectly benefits other species that depend on these animals for food, including fish, birds, and even humans.

Great white sharks also affect the behaviour of their prey species. The mere presence of these predators can cause seals and other marine life to change their movement and distribution patterns. This has ripple effects throughout the ecosystem as other animals adjust their own behaviour in response.

In short, great white sharks are essential to the health of marine ecosystems. Without them, these systems would quickly become unbalanced and would eventually collapse. This highlights the importance of conserving these predators, even though many may fear them.

Because great white sharks are apex predators, meaning they have no natural predators. However, they are at the top of the food chain and are, therefore, vulnerable to exploitation by humans. Overfishing, finning, and bycatch are all significant threats to great white shark populations.

Despite their challenges, great white sharks continue to inhabit waters around the world.  These magnificent animals play an essential role in the ecosystem.


Great White Sharks in Australia.

Great white shark distribution in Australia includes the coastal shelf and continental slope depths. An estimated 750 adult white sharks make up the eastern Australasian population, with a total of 5460 in that region. The southern-western population is made up of an estimated 1460 adults. Though their numbers appear healthy on the surface, white shark populations have actually halved since the 1970s due to overfishing and finning.

Australia is working hard to preserve great white sharks through various conservation efforts. One such example is the Great White Shark Conservation Plan, started in 1999 by the government. This plan has different objectives, all centred around one goal: Bring back dwindling numbers of great white sharks. To reach this end, Australia regulates the fishing activity and protects important habitats these animals live in while also conducting extensive research programs to learn more about them.

Cage Diving in Australia

Cage diving with white sharks is an incredible experience that everyone should have at least once in their lifetime! Rodney Fox Expeditions offers the only live-on-board Great White Shark Tour in Australia, making it easy and convenient for anyone to get up close and personal with these amazing creatures. Whether you're a 'once-in-a-lifetime' type of person or a dedicated diver, this tour is perfect for you. Not only will you get to see the white sharks from the surface, but you'll also have the opportunity to scuba dive with them in the bottom cage – something that very few people get to do. If you're looking for an unforgettable adventure, look no further than Rodney Fox Expeditions.

Cage diving with Great white sharks


Where do great white sharks live?

Great white sharks are found in temperate and tropical waters worldwide. They are most common in coastal areas near the surface of the water but can also be found at depths of up to 250 meters.

How long do great white sharks live?

Great white sharks have a relatively long lifespan compared to many other shark species. While the exact lifespan of great white sharks is not known with absolute certainty, research and scientific estimates suggest that they can live between 30 and 70 years, depending on various factors.

What are the preferred habitats of great white sharks?

Great white sharks prefer habitats with cold, nutrient-rich water. They are often found near areas with abundant seals and sea lions, as these are their primary prey.

What do great white sharks eat?

Great white sharks are apex predators and their diet primarily consists of a variety of marine animals. Here is some information about what great white sharks eat:

1. Marine mammals:  One of the main food sources for great white sharks is marine mammals such as seals, sea lions, and occasionally small whales. These animals provide a high amount of fat and energy, making them attractive prey.

2. Fish:  Great white sharks also consume a wide range of fish species. Common fish in their diet include tuna, mackerel, herring, and other bony fish. They are skilled hunters and can swiftly capture fish using their speed and powerful jaws.

3. Other sharks:  Great white sharks are known to prey on other sharks, including smaller species such as dogfish sharks. This cannibalistic behaviour is observed in some cases, especially when food resources are limited.

4. Sea turtles:  Although not a significant part of their diet, great white sharks occasionally feed on turtles. They target weaker or injured turtles that are easier to catch and consume.

5. Cephalopods:  Squid and octopus are also on the menu for great white sharks. These intelligent and agile creatures provide a nutritious meal when encountered.

6. Carrion: Great white sharks are opportunistic feeders and may scavenge on carcasses of dead marine animals, such as whales or seals when the opportunity arises.

It's important to note that the diet of great white sharks can vary based on their geographical location, seasonal changes, and availability of prey. Their feeding habits are influenced by factors like migration patterns of their prey, mating behaviours, and the overall ecosystem dynamics of their habitats.

What are some of the threats to great white shark habitat?

Some of the threats to great white shark habitat include:

  • Overfishing: Great white sharks are often caught as bycatch in fishing nets.
  • Habitat loss: Coastal development can destroy or fragment great white shark habitat.
  • Pollution: Pollution can contaminate the water and make it unsafe for sharks to live in.
  • Climate change: Climate change is causing the ocean to warm, which could make it difficult for great white sharks to find food.


Can I cage dive in NSW?

Cage diving with Great White Sharks is not available in NSW. If you're specifically interested in diving with Great Whites, you'll need to travel to South Australia, where Port Lincoln is the premier location for this activity.

Book your shark dive today!