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Shark School

Great White Shark
(Carcharodon carcharias)

Great White Shark.  Copyright 1998 Steve Drogin

When people think of sharks, the image of the great white is what often comes to mind. However, great whites are not very common in the waters off San Diego and northern Baja California.

Impressive by any standard, the great white shark is the world's largest predatory fish. It ranges worldwide in temperate and subtropical seas, but is considered uncommon. They grow to an average size of 15 feet; the largest recorded specimen was 21 feet.

While the movies may have given us the impression that great whites hunt humans, their diet really consists of seals, sea lions, dolphins, and fishes including other sharks. Attacks on humans are extremely rare, and probably cases of mistaken identity -- a human floating on a surfboard looks surprisingly like a sea lion or seal from below.

The great white shark is also called the white pointer and white death.


Photograph © Steve Drogin

Shark School | Kids' Habitat

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