My Habitat Report - the Great White Shark | Teen Ink

My Habitat Report - the Great White Shark

October 21, 2009
By Anson Lee PLATINUM, Chai Wan, Other
Anson Lee PLATINUM, Chai Wan, Other
22 articles 0 photos 0 comments


Sharks always give people nightmares. They imagine themselves swimming in the blue sea, not noticing a dark shape zooming up from below and then in a flash, they find themselves inside the shark’s jaws. In real life, most commonly-seen sharks do not pack much muscle and their jaws are too small to gulp somebody down alive. Sharks do not think of people as their common prey, so sharks don’t attack people very often, except for the Great White Shark which has a big mouth and packs enough muscle to attack a person. This is the shark that is the star of many shark horror movies, as it has a fearsome reputation.

The White shark is a Mackerel shark, and is built for extreme combat against other animals and can bite a 60-kilogram fish in half with just one bite. It belongs to the shark family Lamnidae, sharing it with two Mako sharks (Longfin and Shortfin Mako) and two Lamna sharks (Salmon and Portbeagle sharks). White sharks can reach lengths up to 6.4 m (21 ft), weights up to 1,208 kg (2,660 lb), with a streamlined body, big fins, large mouth with long teeth in rows, black-on-top and white-below.

White sharks can only live almost in coastal or offshore waters with temperatures of between 12°C to 24°C. They are usually found close to the surface but can dive down to depths up to 1,280 m (4,200 ft).

It is everybody’s nightmare to find themselves inside their unforgiving jaws. Thankfully for us, white sharks mainly eat fish, seals, rays, tuna, other sharks, dolphins, porpoises, whale carcasses, seals, sea lions, and sea turtles. They have a dominance hierarchy: females dominate males, larger sharks dominate smaller sharks, and residents dominate newcomers.

Not much is known about white sharks reproduction. But it is known that white sharks are ovoviviparous, which means that the pups hatch inside their mother and develop until they are born. They survive by eating the other pups.

White sharks have the “Ampullae of Lorenzini” to detect electrical fields caused by prey and have a rete mirable (Latin for “wonderful net”) to conserve heat efficiently. White sharks can also regulate internal body temperature along with that of the environmental temperature.

Sadly, nowadays, sharks are being hunted for fun, food, medicine, sports, and fashion. Because of the hunting of sharks, white sharks are vulnerable and are under threat of extinction, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

My conclusion is that white sharks are beautiful animals of the planet Earth, and can help us since they have extraordinarily powerful immune systems that can help medicine in many different ways.

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