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The Great White Shark is a large lamniform shark that can swim in water as shallow as 3 feet deep. They reach a length of 20 feet (6m) and weigh up to 5,000 pounds (2,240kg).
See the fact file below for more information on the Great White Shark, or you can download our 25-page Great White Shark worksheet pack to utilize within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- The great white shark is the only known extant species in the genus Carcharodon and one of five extant species in the Lamnidae family.
- Mako sharks, porbeagle sharks, and salmon sharks are also members of this family while the Lamniformes family is the order of mackerel sharks.
- Paleontologists have debated the origins of great white sharks for the last 150 years.
- Many people believe they descended from the 50-foot megalodon, also known as the megatooth shark (Carcharocles megalodon), which is frequently depicted as a much larger version of the great white shark.
- However, the consensus appears to be shifting after a newly discovered fossil species was announced in November 2012. Great white sharks may instead have more in common with mako sharks.
- The name “white shark” was originally used to describe the oceanic white-tipped shark, and because it was much larger than the latter shark, it was named “great” because the “white” part of its name had already been used for another shark, which was later referred to as the “lesser white shark.”
- Because the name “lesser white shark” is no longer used, most scientists prefer “white shark.”
- One of the most significant parts of the great white shark’s anatomy is its teeth.
- In fact, the scientific name of the great white shark is Carcharodon carcharias, which means “ragged tooth” in Latin and demonstrates that this shark’s teeth have always been an essential feature.
- The great white shark has approximately 3,000 triangular teeth. The jaws extend forward as its head recedes back when it moves in to bite its prey.
- The lower jaw is the first to strike, stabbing the prey with razor-sharp blades.
- Surprisingly, the great white has no bones in its body. These sharks are classified as elasmobranchs (cartilaginous fish), which means that they are primarily composed of cartilage.
- Unlike bone, which is rigid, cartilage is flexible like rubber, giving the shark greater mobility to attack at high speeds.
- A shark’s vertebral column is made up of disks that are strung like beads along the spinal cord.
- This careful bone arrangement allows the shark to move freely in the water and wiggle its tail at high speeds.
- Sharks, unlike most fish, have at least five to seven-gill arches that provide structural support within their bodies. These slits are used to catch plankton, which they ball up and swallow.
- Many fish in the sea have scales on their bodies, but the great white shark does not.
- Their skin is made up of tiny points called dermal denticles, skin-teeth or placoid scales.
- A great white’s streamlined denticles reduce drag and allow the shark to move discreetly through the water.
- Great white sharks have at least 11 months of gestation. To mate and reproduce, the male white sharks would sneak up behind the female shark and bite her around the gills to release sperm.
- The male’s claspers are used to release sperm to the female. Sharks can have up to 100 offspring per cycle and reproduce every two to three years. Shark pups are abandoned without parental care when they are born.
- Shark pups typically stay close to their birth location until they reach adulthood.
- Because most sharks are born in coastal areas, many die as a result of the human impact on their environment. A shark can take up to 15 years to mature.
- Their growth span is slow, which causes a lot of pups to die before reaching adulthood.
- When great white sharks reach adulthood, which takes about 12-15 years, they can begin to reproduce. Moreover, great white sharks can live for 30 to 100 years.
- The ocean, particularly coastal and cool water, is home to great white sharks. On the other hand, warm-blooded great white sharks live in temperate waters and only occasionally in tropical waters because the shark could overheat.
- Areas which are too cold or too warm for warm-blooded great white sharks are uncommon. Sharks are more commonly found in temperate waters, where they can avoid overheating, which is a common risk when diving in tropical waters.
- Because their temperature is internally regulated, it is difficult to predict whether or not the great whites migrate to warmer or colder locations or to even learn the reason for some migrations.
- These sharks can also be found along the eastern and western coasts of the United States, Africa, Asia, and Australia, as well as South America. They can thrive in water temperatures ranging from 54°F – 75°F.
- It is unknown how much the great white shark population has declined from 1970 to the present, which has been caused by an increase in great white shark fishing.
- Despite the fact that there are no precise global population estimates, the great white shark is now considered vulnerable.
- A lot of sharks are targeted by fishermen not only for their jaws, teeth, shark meat, and fins but also for entertainment (fish games) as well.
- The great white shark, on the other hand, is rarely caught for commercial purposes, even though its flesh is considered valuable. When caught casually, it is mislabeled as a smooth-hound shark.
- Several countries, including Australia, New Zealand, and South America, have enacted legislation to protect and conserve the great white shark population.
- Due to the great white shark population’s drastic decline, the Australian Government declared these sharks vulnerable in 1999 and they are now protected under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.
- The Australian government established the White Shark Recovery Plan in 2002, introducing conservation research and monitoring, as well as federal protection and stricter regulation of shark-related trade and tourism activities.
- Great white sharks were added to California’s Endangered Species Act in 2013.
- The population of these sharks in the North Pacific was estimated to be less than 340 individuals based on data collected.
- Without an appropriate research permit, Massachusetts prohibited catching, cage diving, feeding, towing decoys, or baiting as well as chumming for its significant and highly predictable migratory great white shark population in 2015.
- The restrictions are intended to protect both sharks and public health.
Great White Shark Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle that includes everything you need to know about Great White Shark across 25 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use worksheets that are perfect for teaching kids about the Great White Shark, a large lamniform shark that can swim in water as shallow as 3 feet deep.
Complete List of Included Worksheets
Below is a list of all the worksheets included in this document.
- Great White Shark Facts
- Shark Anatomy
- A Great White’s Life
- Shark Haven
- The Case of Jaws
- Protecting the Sharks
- Great White Symbol
- Lawful Protection
- Under the Sea
- The Whale Shark
- Shark Family
How many teeth does a great white shark have?
The great white shark is a skilled predator, with up to 300 serrated teeth in its mouth arranged in several rows. They also have an exceptional sense of smell which they use to detect prey.
What do great white sharks eat?
Young white sharks feed on fish (including other sharks). The sharks’ favorite food as youngsters become sea mammals, particularly sea lions and seals, as they mature.
Does the great white shark sleep?
Sharks can rest for long periods of time while breathing through a variety of methods, even during extended deep sleep. They are able to do so because they lack eyelids and their eyes remain open all the time. Their pupils continue to track the movement of creatures swimming around them even when they are sleeping.
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Link will appear as Great White Shark Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, September 7, 2022
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.