Do Great White Sharks Lay Eggs?

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.

The great white shark has a lifespan of up to 60 years in the wild. Sharks grow to adulthood slowly and reach breeding age late, meaning they do not reproduce often or fruitfully. Their eggs are large and likely to produce fit offspring, unlike the clouds of tiny eggs released by other fish.

Great white sharks can grow to enormous sizes, but as pups they are quite small and are vulnerable to larger sharks and other ocean predators. This means that even large litters will not all survive to adulthood, with most of the pups dying of natural causes or being caught and eaten.

A great white shark's gestation period lasts for an entire calendar year. This long gestation period allows the shark to give her pups their best shot at survival by giving them time to grow and develop inside her body where they are safe from outside threats.