Great White sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) live in almost all the cold or temperate waters of the planet. The densest known population is found around Dyer Island, near de Kelders in South Africa where up to 31 different White sharks have been documented by the White Shark Trust in a single day.
The Great White shark has a robust large conical-shaped snout. It has almost the same size upper and lower lobes on the tail fin and is pale to dark grey with a white belly.
Great White sharks, have rows of serrated teeth behind the main ones, allowing any that break off to be rapidly replaced. The teeth (up to 3000 in total) are unattached to the jaw and are retractable, like a cat's claws, moving into place when the jaw is opened. The teeth rotate on their own axis (outward when the jaw is opened, inward when closed).
Shark cage diving
Several operators leave from the harbour of Kleinbaai to the waters east of Danger Point, home of hundreds of Great White sharks, especially between March and August. Between Dyer Island and Geyser Rock lies “Shark Alley” where the mysterious and graceful Great White sharks have drawn visitors from across the globe. Gansbaai is one of the few places left in the world where one can still cage dive with these magnificent creatures. Cages are lowered on the side of the boat to allow the passengers to come eye to eye with these magnificent predators
Adult length: up to 7m, average 4-5m
Adult weight: Up to around 2 tonnes
Length at birth: average 1.5m, growing to around 2m at 1 year
Lifespan: believed to be 30-40 years
Food: primarily eat fish, smaller sharks, turtles, dolphins, and pinnipeds such as seals and sea lions
The Great White sharks reputation as a ferocious predator is well-earned, yet they are not (as was once believed) indiscriminate "eating machines". They typically hunt using an "ambush" technique, taking their prey by surprise from the bottom. Sometimes, they swim so fast that they actually jump out of the water while chasing/attacking seals. The Great White is the only shark known to regularly lift its head above the sea surface to gaze at other objects such as prey.
Biologist Douglas Long writes that the Great White sharks "role as a menace is exaggerated; more people are killed in the U.S. each year by dogs than have been killed by White sharks in the last 100 years.