Great white sharks, also known as white sharks or white pointers, are the third largest sharks alive today. Unlike their larger, filter-feeding cousins – the basking sharks (Cetorhinus maximus) and whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) – great white are incredibly active, agile predators
White sharks are “generalists”, feeding on many different prey items, including boney fishes, squids, octopi and other sharks. When they reach a critical size of 3 metres long, they also expand their diet to include marine mammals, like seals and dolphins. This is known as an “ontogenetic diet shift”
Great whites don’t just rely on brute strength when they are hunting. They actually use very clever tactics to be able to sneak up on their prey… They will descend into the water and sneak underneath a seal at the surface.
When right beneath their target, great whites will accelerate incredibly quickly and take their prey at the surface. They can reach speeds of 25 miles per hour on their approach! They rely on their speed, weight and incredible jaw strength to immoblise their prey with one extremely powerful bite
It is this great speed that causes white sharks to fly out of the surface of the water when they are hunting. Giving us one of THE most spectacular sights in our natural world. White sharks can launch their entire body out of the water – more than half a tonne of muscle – for several seconds, before diving back down.