Nat Geo WILD: Know Your Sharks—The Great White Shark

Possibly the most feared predator on the planet, the great white tops the list of sharks most likely to attack humans. But despite this terrifying title, great whites have an exaggerated reputation and are historically responsible for less than 300 unprovoked incidents around the globe. It’s 30 times more likely for someone to be struck by lightning than attacked by a shark. In actuality, the majority of a great white’s diet is made up of fish, turtles, dolphins, porpoises, sea lions, and seals. It’s believed that when great whites attack humans, it’s more likely due to their natural curiosity rather than their appetite.

Great white sharks, with their powerful, torpedo-shaped bodies, are the biggest predatory fish in the world. They can weigh up to 5,000 pounds and grow to an average of 15 feet in length. Great whites have an excellent sense of smell. And, through electromagnetic sensors in their pointed snouts, these giant fish are able to pinpoint a drop of blood from over a mile away and a seal colony from two miles’ distance.

For more facts and photos on the great white shark, visit our Great White Shark Profile and the Know Your Sharks Photo Gallery.

Wildlife

Meet the Author
Jodi Kendall is a writer living in New York City with her husband and two dogs. She's a regular contributor for several National Geographic Channel websites and curator for Wanderfly.com. You can follow her travel, writing, and outdoor adventures on Twitter @Jodi_Kendall.