The White Shark is one of the most well-known sharks in the world, reaching impressive lengths of 6 metres and weights of 3000 kilograms.

The White Shark has a torpedo-shaped body, a pointed snout and large pectoral and first dorsal fins. The fish has black eyes and its body is grey and bronze above, and white below.

White Shark, <i>Carcharodon carcharias</i>
'Faye', a large female White Shark near the surface at the Neptune Islands, South Australia, August, 2006. Image: Michelle Yerman
© Michelle Yerman

As a juvenile, the shark is known to eat squid, fishes, stingrays and other sharks. As it grows, so does its diet. Its large serrated teeth are perfect for eating seals, sea lions, dolphins and dead whales.

Attacks on humans are often believed to have occurred as a result of mistaken identity. It is suggested that surfers lying on a surf board resemble seals to the shark, resulting in a number of attacks.

A video feature we found on our ‘Fish Bits’ blog shows a close encounter with the shark whilst kayaking off San Onofre State Beach, California.

The White Shark is ‘uncommon’ in Australian waters, despite Australia's reputation for being the place to see Great Whites. There are no reliable estimates of the numbers in our waters and some believe their numbers are decreasing.

Quick Facts –

  • We rate this animal as a 7/10 Danger Rating. Why?
  • Some attacks from this species have been fatal.