Great White Shark Feeding
It is one of the best known, most feared marine predators and also one of the oldest. It has amazing adaptation mechanisms, which provide great advantages for its food: today, we’re going to talk about the great white shark and its food.
The Great White Shark: An Extraordinary Hunter
It was the great father of taxonomy, Carlos Lineu, who first described the white shark in 1758, giving it the official name of Squalus carcharias. A few years later, the animal was renamed Carcharodon carcharias, the only living representative of this genus.
We are facing a specimen of a vertebrate chondrion fish. That is, your skeleton is made up of cartilage, not bone. This characteristic, together with the hydrodynamic shape of its body, makes the great white shark an extremely fast and effective predator. In fact, most of the white shark’s morphological adaptations aim to be able to feed more and better.
Its body has a very characteristic color pattern: while the belly is white, the upper part is grayish or slightly bluish. This camouflage allows the animal to be confused with deep water – in the case of the upper part – and even with sunlight, when looking at the belly part.
Its huge mouth, which always remains open to allow the flow of water, draws attention. To capture its prey, it closes its mouth with extremely strong pressure, and its serrated triangular teeth complete the task.
How does the great white shark feed?
Another of the adaptive mechanisms of the great white shark is the development of extrasensory organs that sense the vibrations caused by prey in the water, however small they may be. They are able to orient themselves even through variations in electromagnetic fields.
But in addition to this extraordinary sensory ability, these predators also have an unusual sense of smell. The white shark can distinguish a drop of blood in the ocean several kilometers away, which helps to orient itself towards its food source.
The hunting technique of these sharks – although it seems surprising given their size and reputation – is based on stealth and stalking. Using his dark body color as a camouflage, he begins to swim beneath his victims. When the perfect moment comes to attack, it uses its tail to advance quickly and thus prevent its prey from reacting.
If the prey isn’t too big, the next thing the great white shark does is swallow it. When it is a little bigger, the technique of these predators consists in leaving the victim severely injured or in agony, and then feeding little by little. This phenomenon usually attracts more sharks, because of the presence of blood in the water.
What does the great white shark feed on?
The diet of these animals is quite varied, although it changes according to the age of each individual. Younger specimens tend to prefer small prey : all kinds of fish, cephalopods such as rays or squid, and also other marine inhabitants that are smaller than themselves.
As they grow older, their favorite prey also grows larger. This includes seals, sea lions, dolphins, turtles and animals that visit the sea sporadically, such as penguins or birds. If given the opportunity, he can use a whale’s corpse to consume the carrion.
Are they really dangerous to us?
The white shark has a bad reputation, fueled in part by its appearance and ferocity. But it must be said that these animals’ attacks on humans are episodic compared to those of other species of sharks or other animals, such as crocodiles or wasps.
In fact, most shark species do not consider humans as potential prey for their food. That’s why, currently, the frightening image we had of this animal is gradually fading.