How Long Do Great White Sharks Live (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 70 Years

The great white shark, having the scientific name Carcharodon carcharias, is a variety of large sharks that can be found in the major oceans of the world. This shark is popularly known for its gigantic size and large lifespan.

Female white sharks grow up to 20 ft in length making them one of the largest fishes in the aquatic kingdom. They weigh about 1,905 to 2,268 kg in weight. However, on average male white sharks are about 11 to 13 ft in size, and female white sharks are larger compared to males with a size of 15 to 16 ft in length. The whale shark and the basking shark are the only two fishes that grow larger than the great white shark.

These sharks along with having huge sizes are also gifted with high speed and agility as they can swim at a speed of about 25 km/hr for short intervals of time. The great white sharks are usually found at deep depths of around 3,900 ft in the oceans.

How Long Do Great White Sharks Live?

The great white sharks are indeed great in terms of their size and belong to the phylum Chordata. These sharks live for a long duration as they possess a huge lifespan covering several decades. They are the only known species that is still surviving belonging to its genus Carcharodon.

Due to its huge size and extremely demanding diet, no known aquarium in the world houses a living specimen on the great white shark. It is extremely difficult to keep this shark in captivity and is not even logically feasible to do so.

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In earlier times, it was believed that great white sharks lived only for about 20 years. But recent studies show that great white sharks can live as long as 70 years or even more. Though the great white sharks have a long lifespan, their population is quite sparse and becomes more and more flimsy with each passing day and hence are labeled vulnerable.

Types Of SharksLifespan
The great white shark70 years
Whale shark100 years
Blue shark20 years
Basking shark50 years

Why Do Great White Sharks Live So Long?

There are generally no known natural predators of the great white shark except the killer whale. It is undoubtedly the world’s largest known aquatic fish. The great white shark’s usual prey includes seabirds, fish, other various aquatic and marine animals. They are found in almost all oceans of the worlds having water temperature in the range of 12 degrees to 24 degrees Celcius.

In great white sharks, females outgrow the males, meaning thereby that female sharks are typically larger than male sharks. However, not only this, as great white sharks have a long life expectancy, they mature slowly in comparison to other mammals. A longer lifespan indirectly means a longer duration to attain maturity. Thus, as great white sharks mature slowly and steadily, these sharks take longer to reproduce and might be unable to sustain their species.

Moreover, many people all around the world like fishermen are in constant search of the great white shark to hunt and kill them for various superfluous reasons. This premature killing before being able to reproduce is also one of the many reasons why their so population is so scarce.

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To save the species of the great white shark the IUCN (Internation Union for Conservation of Nature) and declared them as vulnerable with the view to sustain and protect them. Several countries and also made stringent laws to curb white shark fishing. However, in some places, great white sharts are still being killed for their teeth and fins.

Conclusion

This endangered species of shark has a lifespan of about 70 years. These sharks play their part in maintaining the balance of the ocean ecosystem and thus should not be merely killed for their teeth or fins. The great white shark is unarguably the largest predatory fish in the world. Known for being an aggressive predator, the importance of the great white shark in the ocean ecosystem cannot be ignored.

References

  1. https://orb.binghamton.edu/alpenglowjournal/vol5/iss1/3/
  2. https://www.taylorfrancis.com/chapters/edit/10.4324/9780203750292-25/iconic-species-great-white-sharks-basking-sharks-whale-sharks-ryan-kempster-shaun-collin
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