~ 20 feet of scariness ~
The fiercest fish in the ocean, the Great White Shark, has no predators (animals that attack it) other than other Great White Sharks and Orca Whales. When fully grown, they can be 20 feet long (imagine three adults stretched across the floor), but generally females are 15 to 16 feet long and males 11 to 13 feet. Whatever their length, these are huge fish you would not want to meet even in your sleep!
Sharks have been on the planet for over 400 million years, but the Great White is believed to have been here for only 16 million years, according to the oldest fossil found so far.
Great Whites can be found anywhere in the world where water temperatures are between 54º and 75ºF, although larger numbers of them are found in the Northeast U.S. and California, South Africa, Australia, Japan and Chile. They, more than any other type of shark, are responsible for the most attacks on humans, although they don't actually target humans – it is believed they take a bite to find out what the prey is and they do this with buoys, surfboards and anything unfamiliar to them.
Scientists believe the Great Whites don't like the taste of humans - our bodies have too much bone and muscle for its digestive system - and they prefer meaty, fatty fish. In most of the documented attacks on humans, the Great White has moved on after the first bite. Their normal prey is tuna, seals, other sharks, dolphins, sea-lions, porpoises and whales.
Very little is known about how the Great White reproduces. Females do not mature until they are 33, whilst males mature at 26. Prior to that they do not mate. Shark pups are born in the spring and summer, after a gestation period of 11 months, but scientists have never seen a Great White give birth. It is believed they can live for over 70 years.
Great Whites use different methods of hunting their prey, depending on the type of prey. Dolphins can be attacked from above, below and from the side, whilst they attack brown fur seals from below, racing up from below at 25mph to hit them mid body with great force as they swim atop the ocean. With sea turtles, they bite through the shell around the flippers.