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Great white shark

Great white shark swimmingGreat white shark swimmingClick to play video The great white shark is a fierce predator, with a grey back and white belly. It may grow up to 6 metres (20 feet) long. Great white sharks prefer cool coastal waters, but have been known to frequent tropical waters. They feed mainly on seals and porpoises, but do sometimes attack humans. They are one of the most dangerous shark species to bathers.

Great white sharkGreat white shark
A great white attacking a sealA great white attacking a seal


The great white shark is one of the most ferocious predators in the oceans. Although it has been known to attack and kill humans, this is rare; it usually feeds on fish, turtles and sea mammals, such as dolphins and seals.

Sharks usually attack their prey from underneath so that they are taken by surprise. Sometimes they hit their prey with such force that they leap out of the water. Sharks do not chew their food. Instead, they tear off chunks of flesh with their teeth and swallow them whole.

A great white seen from underneathA great white seen from underneath

Great white sharks find their prey using their excellent sense of smell. They can detect a single drop of blood in 100 litres (25 gallons) of water. They can even sense tiny amounts of blood in the water up to 5 km (3 miles) away.

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