GREAT WHITE RANGE AND DIET
Great white sharks live in almost all coastal and offshore waters which have a water temperature of between 12 and 24° C (54° to 75° F), with greater concentrations off the southern coasts of Australia, off South Africa, California, Mexico's Isla Guadalupe and to a degree in the Central Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas. The densest known population is found around Dyer Island, South Africa where up to 31 different white sharks have been documented by Michael Scholl of the White Shark Trust in a single day. It can be also found in tropical waters like those of the Caribbean and has been recorded off Mauritius.
It is a pelagic (of or pertaining to the open seas or oceans) fish, but recorded or observed mostly in coastal waters in the presence of rich game like fur seals, sealions, cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises), other sharks and large bony fish species. It is considered an open-ocean dweller and is recorded from the surface down to depths of 1,280 metres (4,200 ft), but is most often found close to the surface.
In a recent study white sharks from California were shown to migrate to an area between Baja California and Hawaii, where they spend at least 100 days of the year before they migrate back to Baja. On the journey out, they swim slowly and dive to up to 900 metres (3,000 ft). After they arrive, they change behaviour and do short dives to about 300 m (1,000 ft) for up to 10 minutes. It is still unknown why they migrate and what they do there; it might be seasonal feeding or possibly a mating area.
In a similar study a white shark from South Africa was tracked swimming to the northwestern coast of Australia and back to the same location in South Africa, a journey of 20,000 kilometres in under 9 months.
Great whites are found in all the major oceans of the world.
Great white sharks primarily eat fish, smaller sharks, turtles, dolphins, and pinnipeds such as seals and sea lions. Great whites have also been known to eat objects that can't be digested. In great white sharks above 3.41 metres (11 ft, 2 in) a diet consisting of a higher proportion of mammals has been observed. Sometimes, they swim so fast that they actually jump out of the water while chasing/attacking seals. In many parts of the world they are considered apex predators because other great white sharks and orcas attack them as prey.
Photo courtesy Chris Fallows
Great whites are warm-bodied (certain parts of the body running at higher temperatures, while the heart and gills run at sea-temperature), keeping most of their body up to 14° C above the surrounding water, which would suggest a high metabolism. Despite that, the few estimates that have been made suggest they are economical with their calories and can go weeks between meals. Due to problems keeping great whites in captivity, no concrete figures for this exist.
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