Wildlife Fact Sheets

Great White Shark

Great White Shark

Great White Shark

Carcharodon carcharias

  • Life Span
    I can live 70 years or more.
  • Habitat
    Adults venture out across the deep ocean, but juveniles tend to stay closer to shore.
  • Range
    You can find me throughout the ocean in temperate waters. Occasionally you can find me in warm or cold environments, too.
  • Preferred Food
    I mostly eat fish, but will also eat turtles, crustaceans, seals, sea lions and small cetaceans like dolphins.


They don’t call me “great” for nothing! I’m a big guy–I can grow to over 20 feet long and weigh over 2.5 tons. That makes me the largest predatory fish in the world! My body is made for hunting: I have an excellent sense of smell and a winning set of sharp, serrated teeth that is perfect for capturing and tearing apart my prey. I also am warm-blooded, unlike most other sharks who are cold-blooded. This lets me raise my internal temperature to the temperature of the water, which helps me have the energy to burst forward while hunting.

I’m a solo swimmer, but you can find me with friends every now and again–especially if there is food around.

Did You Know?

Our scientific name means “ragged-toothed.” It comes from the Greek word “carcharos” for ragged, and “odon” for tooth.

Status and Conservation

I’ve become infamous as a “man eater” thanks to some *ahem* dramatic representations in media and pop culture. Yes, I am an excellent hunter, and yes, up to a half of the recorded shark attacks annually are by great whites. But most aren’t fatal, and often happen because we are naturally curious and are “sample biting” to see what that strange thing above us is!

This image is detrimental to our health and leads to fear of implementing much-needed conservation efforts. Some people have even advocated for killing us to prevent attacks. But due to intentional fishing or unintentional bycatch, our numbers have declined in some habitats up to 90% over the last 40+ years.

Fast Facts


Enough is Enough. End New Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling

Take Action
Search Previous Next Facebook Instagram LinkedIn Twitter Email Anchor Back Waves Wave