National Geographic Society Newsroom

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...

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.

About National Geographic Society

The National Geographic Society is a global nonprofit organization that uses the power of science, exploration, education and storytelling to illuminate and protect the wonder of the world. Since 1888, National Geographic has pushed the boundaries of exploration, investing in bold people and transformative ideas, providing more than 14,000 grants for work across all seven continents, reaching 3 million students each year through education offerings, and engaging audiences around the globe through signature experiences, stories and content. To learn more, visit www.nationalgeographic.org or follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Meet the Author

Jodi Kendall
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.