Great white shark diet
The great white shark, perhaps one of the most feared animals in the ocean, has a diet that includes a number of other marine animals. Great white sharks can reach a length of more than 20 meters and weigh more than 4,000 pounds. Because they are known to swim up to 10,000 miles per year, large white sharks have to obtain a large amount of energy through their prey.
Favorite diet The great white shark is composed of marine mammals such as seals, sea lions, dolphins and whales. These mammals are large and fatty, and because fat has twice as many calories per pound as protein does, sharks can get a lot of energy from eating fatty marine mammals. In fact, 65 pounds of whale fat is enough to keep a shark for about 45 days. Because of the benefits of eating marine mammals, white sharks are known to intentionally visit islands every winter to hunt the young seals that live there.
Great white sharks commonly eat other sharks, rays and smaller fish. Although small fish are not rich in calories, they are much easier to catch and are available almost anywhere in the ocean. Researchers have observed sharks targeting the pool of fish slower at the edges of schools and observe that predators such as sharks can help in the natural selection of fish within a species.
The most common way to observe that sharks hunt large prey such as seals and sea lions is to swim just below the surface of the water and when just below the prey to quickly push the head out of the water, biting the animal on the way. Sharks can also swiftly swim partially over the surface of the water when prey is attacked, or even attack swimming long distances up from below the prey to avoid being seen.
Like animals at the top of many ocean food chains, white sharks play an important role in the balance of the marine ecosystem. Researchers at Stanford have discovered that there are only about 3,500 large white sharks left in the world, making the great white shark more threatened than tigers. The decrease in the number of white sharks may be a sign of a reduction in the number of prey available to sustain them. Another possibility is that the shark decrease is due to other factors, and that the populations of its prey may grow excessively large as a result.
Contrary to popular belief, humans are not part of the diet of a great white shark. Although sharks sometimes attack humans, they do not end up eating humans. Some scientists believe that shark attacks on humans are due to the confusion of sharks, because humans can sometimes resemble the animals that a shark eats. In particular, when viewed from below, a person on a surfboard can look like a seal or a sea lion, which is part of a shark’s diet. Another theory is that hungry sharks can attack humans as a way to determine if it’s worth eating.