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.

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.
  • Steve T

    What about the Attucks that were never recorded? Even if there’s a slim chance, i’m not interested in remotely getting ripped apart by a large monster that’s called a Great White Shark! If your chance of getting attacked by a any species of shark is like winning the Lottery ,right? We’re told over & over by our government that you have to play to win the lottery,right?! Well, entering the ocean, is like entering the Oceanic Predator Lottery! You have to enter the Ocean to win, but you ain’t winning! I’ I’d rather just swim in the pool & worry if someone might have pissed in the pool or if there’s either not enough Chlorine or too little! Not a monster roaming below, & not sure if i’m on his menu for dinner that day! Walking is my favorite sport & so are using the rest of my appendages!! Lakes & most rivers are safe from predators! Just have to watch rivers that directly connect from the ocean!! Bull sharks can swim in Fresh Water & are the most aggressive of the shark species! Bulls sharks’ bodies contain more Testosterone then any other animals on the planet! Extremely territorial! It’s all about money. A lot of money would be lost in the beach industries around the world, if people really knew the truth about Risk vs Reward, by entering the Ocean!!

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