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Facts about Great White Sharks(I can't credit all the sources but thanks anyway).
Great White Sharks usually inhabit coastal and offshore areas of the continental and insular shelves. Although they can occur world-wide, they prefer warm or temperate areas and are mostly found close to coasts. Their average size is 3 to 6m, although there have been claims as large as 9m, but this is not officially recorded. Most of the larger Great White Sharks are females. they weigh up to 2000 kg, and may live up to 40 years.
The Great White Shark is a versatile predator who will eat may things. Food includes a wide range of bony fishes such as pilchards, salmon, hake, yellow tail and tunas. Other sharks and rays are taken including hound sharks, hammerheads, and stingrays. Basking shark meat has been found in the stomach of several Great White Sharks, apparently taken as carrion from harpooned sharks. Marine mammals are an important food source including Harbour porpoises, dolphins, Northern Elephant Seals, sea lions, and fur seals. Invertebrates taken includes squid, abalones (perlemoen), other gastropods, and crabs. It also readily scavenges on carrion, garbage and fish caught on lines. Dead baleen whales and other large cetaceans may contribute a significant amount to the Great White Shark's diet in some areas. Sea otters, turtles and seabirds are eaten but are an uncommon part of the diet. Now and then, man is also on the menu.
The Great White is generally solitary, but has been known to accumulate in groups of 10 or more individuals at favoured feeding sites. Currently, there is little information on the behaviour of this shark, although evidence suggests that individuals may revisit a favoured site for several years. The shark is presumed to be ovoviviparous (producing fully formed eggs which are hatched inside the body of the female before the offspring is released) although very few pregnant females have been captured. A litter of nine young has been reported. Very few females are thought to be pregnant at any one time and it is suspected that the Great White Shark has a very low breeding rate. The shark has an acute sense of smell which allows it to locate prey in the water. It is thought that Great White Sharks have to keep swimming so that adequate oxygen can pass through their gills and into the bloodstream.
It is difficult to monitor the population sizes of this wide ranging marine species. The South African government has enacted legislation that has protected white sharks from directed fishery attentions since April 1991. Similarly, the State of California passed an Assembly Bill that protects these animals off the region's coast since January 1994, for at least the next five years. These actions took account of public support that favoured protecting this species. Concern in southern Australia has led to the development of a species management plan. The majority of Great White Sharks recorded in Australian waters occur in South Australia. The International Initiative for Conservation of White Sharks is being developed to record direct or incidental captures of Great White Sharks. Data collected will be presented to CITES in favour of outlawing world-wide existing or future directed fisheries for this species. The Great White Shark has so far proved impossible to keep in captivity.
People write to me and ask me are they dangerous? Can we dive with them without a cage? One person even wanted to swim with one and stroke it. One needs to understand that these are not tame Disney Free-Willy like creatures, but extremely dangerous and unpredictable predators. Here in South Africa where we live with them, nice people get killed and maimed every year. I'm not saying they don't have a right to eat us when we invade their domain, but please understand Great Whites are ferocious eating machines with no regard for human life, so NO, I don't advise swiming with one intentionaly. Some times this happens and you have to make the best of it - read Rob Erasmus's account of his unplanned encounter with one close to shore and in shallow water.
Attacks on humans: How many people are killed each year by Great white attacks? There are about 100 shark attacks each year, 30 of which are fatal. Of these 30, the Great White can be reasonably assumed to be responsible for perhaps half to a third. Just 10 to 15 people each year. In contrast, 1000 people are killed on the roads in South Africa, so if you plan on going to the sea-side for the day, rather worry about motorists and not sharks!
When is the best time to go cage diving?Best time to go is South Africa's winter ie May to September. Bear in mind we have unpredictable sea and weather conditions.
(Pictures from JP Botha)
Other Great White pictures found on the internet:Smile, you're on the menu (Unknown)
Yep, It's real! (Carl Roessler)
Don't mess with me (Ron and Valerie Taylor)
No cage - authentic image (Marty Snyderman)