Q:

What is a great white shark?

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Quick Answer

A great white shark, or Carcharodon carcharias, is a large shark that inhabits the coastal waters of all oceans. It is the largest macro-predatory fish on Earth.

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Full Answer

Great white sharks average approximately 3.6 meters in length, though they can reach up to 6.1 meters and weigh up to 5,000 pounds. The International Union for Conservation of Nature considers the great white shark to be a vulnerable species. Its reputation for being one of the world's greatest predators has made it a favorite target of sport fishermen. Once thought to inhabit primarily warm, temperate waters, it is now known to inhabit all waters.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What are the characteristics of a tiger shark vs. a great white?

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    Great white sharks grow up to 21 feet long, have a lifespan of approximately 70 years and live in all the world's oceans. In contrast, tiger sharks grow to about 16 feet, have a lifespan of approximately 50 years and are only found in temperate climates, especially around islands in the Pacific. Though somewhat visually similar, the tiger shark also has characteristic tiger-stripe markings, though these are often faded in mature adults.

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  • Q:

    How many teeth do great white sharks have?

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    The great white shark has approximately 50 full teeth in its jaw, according to the Fox Shark Research Foundation. It has from 24 to 26 teeth in the upper jaw and 22 to 24 in the lower jaw.

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  • Q:

    Do sharks eat turtles?

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    According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the great white shark has an extensive diet that may include leatherback sea turtles. Turtles are not the normal diet of a shark, as they prefer to eat seals, fish and other sharks.

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  • Q:

    Do great white sharks lay eggs?

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    The great white shark gestates its eggs internally before giving live birth to a litter of two to 12 pups that are able to swim and hunt for themselves immediately upon leaving the womb. Many species of sharks give live birth after long gestation periods while others lay eggs and abandon them where they fall, leaving their fates to chance.

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