Are snakes bigger than sharks

Great White Shark (Carcharodon carcharias)

The predator becomes prey

Great white sharks from the herring shark family have an average length between three and six meters and weigh a maximum of around 2,000 kilograms, with the females usually becoming larger than the males. The large, sharp teeth can reach a length of 7.5 centimeters in adult animals. The largest specimen ever caught was 6.40 meters long, weighing 3.2 tons. However, traces on whale carcasses suggest that the animals can grow up to eight meters long.

Great white sharks occur worldwide in the temperate regions, in winter also in subtropical and tropical seas. Due to their feeding behavior, great white sharks are mainly found in the vicinity of sea lion, seal or elephant seal colonies. At the beginning of the millennium, several great white sharks off California, Australia and South Africa were broadcast and their migrations were tracked via satellite. It turned out that the animals spend up to five months a year on the high seas, migrate up to 11,000 kilometers and dive up to 1,000 meters deep. Genetic studies on populations in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand give reason to assume that the males in particular migrate regularly between the populations, thereby ensuring that genes are exchanged.

The great white shark is a perfect predator and the final link in many food chains. It can reach a speed of up to 60 kilometers per hour over a distance. To meet their energy needs, adult animals prefer high-fat foods such as harbor seals, seals and sea lions. Since humans have little food for the great white shark, they are not of interest as direct prey. Most shark attacks on swimmers, divers and surfers are, however, wrongly attributed to the great white shark, since the optical outline of humans resembles that of a seal and thus falls into its prey scheme. The only known natural enemy of the great white shark is the great killer whale (Orca orca).

The great white shark is the most protected species of shark in the world - and yet it is highly endangered. In 2000, the International Union for Conservation of Nature IUCN classified the great white shark as "endangered" on the Red List of Threatened Species. In Australia and the northeastern USA, the great white shark has been a coveted trophy among sport fishermen since the 1950s and at the latest since the success of the movie “The Great White Shark” in the 1970s. Teeth and jaws fetch high prices and in fact sport fishing is the greatest threat to this species.

The great white shark is not relevant for large commercial fisheries because it is too rare. Until recently, however, it was often landed as bycatch by longline and trawl fisheries. In the Mediterranean in particular, the great white shark suffers greatly from habitat changes. The populations here are particularly badly affected by water pollution and the decline in tuna stocks, which are their main prey here.

The WWF has played a key role in establishing the Shark Trust, the only non-profit organization that has been exclusively committed to the protection of sharks in European waters since 1996, and continues to support it. WWF urges countries to develop shark protection action plans to halt the bycatch threat. WWF and TRAFFIC are committed to developing effective strategies to reduce unsustainable trade in shark products.