Interesting facts about sharks in Phuket and all over the world
One of the most common questions we get from divers here at Sea Bees Diving is about sharks. Here in Phuket and Khao Lak we mostly see leopard sharks, nurse sharks, black and white-tip reef sharks and the occasional whale shark.
So most of our Sea Bees guests know a little bit about them, but what about the other big fellas, like great whites, they often ask?
So here are some interesting facts about great white sharks – that not many divers know about 😉
The great white averages between 12-16 feet / 3.5-5.0 metres in length, and can reach up to 19-21 feet / 6.0-6.5 metres, with females tending to be larger than males.
A great white loses and replaces thousands of its teeth during its lifetime. Its upper jaw is lined with 26 front-row teeth; its lower jaw has 24. Behind these razor-sharp points are many rows of replacement teeth. The “spares” move to the front whenever the shark loses a tooth. At any one time about one-third of a shark’s teeth are in the replacement stage. A shame sharks don’t have tooth fairies 😉
Great whites are the only sharks that can hold their heads up out of the water. This ability allows them to look for potential prey at the surface.
Great white sharks can race through the water at speeds of up to 43 miles an hour (69 kilometres an hour). That’s about 8.5 times as fast as the top Olympic swimmer. Scientists on the California coast tracked one shark as it swam all the way to Hawaii—2,400 miles (3,862 kilometres)—in only 40 days!
Picky eaters they’re not – while great white sharks prefer to eat seals, sea lions, and the occasional dolphin, they’ve been known to swallow lots of other things. Bottles, tin cans, straw hats, lobster traps, and an hour glass are among the items found inside the bellies of great white sharks.
Great white sharks have ears. You can’t see them, because they don’t open to the outside. The sharks use two small sensors in the skull to hear and, perhaps, to zero in on the splashing sounds of a wounded fish or a struggling seal.
Unlike most fish, great white sharks’ bodies are warmer than their surroundings. A great white’s body can be as much as 27°F (15°C) warmer than the water the fish swims in. A higher temperature helps the great white shark swim faster and digest its food more efficiently. Very useful for an animal that’s always on the go!
The great white reaches maturity about 9 years after it’s birth, growing at a rate of about 25-30 cm per year. The females only reproduce twice in her whole life.
Sharks give birth to live babies, called pups, a pregnant female great white shark can carry as many as 14 babies in her belly. At birth, a 5-foot-long (1.52-meter), 60-pound (22-kilogram) pup looks and acts like a miniature adult.
“Man-eaters?” Maybe not. Some scientists believe that great white sharks are better described as “man-biters.” In more than half of all known great white attacks on swimmers, sharks have taken only a single bite before swimming away. Scientists speculate that perhaps people just don’t taste as good as seals or sea lions!
By courtesy of Indianchild.com; used with permission.