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CRITTER SPOTLIGHT: Great White Shark: Carcharodon carcharias


Great white sharks are extremely fascinating. They are also considered vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List. https://www.iucnredlist.org/ This means that due to many environmental factors, with fishing and harvesting being at the top of the list, great white shark population tallies are declining.


Due to size, a somewhat aggressive nature, and rows of extremely sharp teeth, the great white shark is often at the forefront of many horror movies. This creature, however, as many of you may already know, rarely ever attacks humans. There are less than 10 attacks every year. These attacks are almost always due to the great white shark mistaking a human for its regular meal of sea lion, seal, or small whale. In almost every encounter, the great white bites a human, and when it realizes its mistake it releases its bite.


Habitat:

Great white sharks can be found throughout the worlds' oceans. They prefer cooler water that is close to the coast. Recently, four great whites were found near Block Island. I have attached the article here https://www.boston.com/news/local-news/2020/07/08/4-great-white-sharks-detected-near-rhode-island-shore


Diet:

As stated above, great white sharks love seals, sea lions, and small whales. Young great white sharks will also feed on smaller fish and rays. Great white sharks rip off chunks of their prey and swallow them whole, they do not chew. They can go for a month or even two before eating another large meal.


Watershed Role:

Great white sharks are apex predators (meaning they are at the top of the food chain)! They help to maintain the species below them and are an excellent indicator of ocean health. Interestingly enough, sharks are sometimes characterized as the doctors of the ocean as they keep other populations healthy. Sharks remove weaker individuals in their food populations. Weaker, sometimes genetically compromised individuals will be eaten first since they are easier to catch. This helps to keep seal, seal lion, and whale populations stronger.


For more great information on the great white shark, please click on the links below. If there is a creature that you would like to see featured in an upcoming critter spotlight, please email me at cmorissette@narrabay.com


https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/fish/g/great-white-shark/

https://www.worldwildlife.org/species/great-white-shark


Much love,

Mrs. Morissette

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