Skip to Content

First Ever Great White Shark Spotted in Alabama Waters

Great white shark, Carcharodon carcharias, with open mouth. False Bay, South Africa, Atlantic Ocean. Image via depositphotos.

A research team from the University of South Alabama made a groundbreaking discovery when they spotted a great white shark in Alabama waters for the first time. The sighting occurred while the team was studying an artificial reef using an underwater camera.

Details of the Sighting

Great White Shark Alabama
Silhouette of jumping Great White Shark. Red sky of sunrise. Great White Shark breaching in attack. Scientific name: Carcharodon carcharias. South Africa. Image via Depositphotos

The female shark, nicknamed “Miss Pawla,” was captured on footage during the research expedition. Miss Pawla, an 8-foot-long juvenile shark, is estimated to be about fifteen years old. The shark had noticeable scars beside its left eye and more marks on its side as it swam past the camera.

Significance of the Discovery

Great White shark
Great White shark in the deep blue. Image via Depositphotos.

This sighting is particularly significant as it marks the first recorded presence of a great white shark in Alabama waters. Great white sharks are typically found in more well-known locations such as New England and California. The presence of Miss Pawla suggests a potential shift in shark distribution or migration patterns.

Characteristics of Great White Sharks

Great White Shark (Carcharodon carcharias) breaching in an attack on seal , South Africa. Image via depositphotos.

Great white sharks are one of the “big three” species known for their interactions with humans, alongside bull sharks and tiger sharks. They can live up to seventy years and grow over twenty feet in length. Despite their fearsome reputation, shark attacks are extremely rare, and these predators rarely come into contact with humans.

Historical Context of Shark Attacks in Alabama

Spectacular Footage of Great White Shark Breaching Near South African Coast
Spectacular Footage of Great White Shark Breaching Near South African Coast. Image by truly via YouTube

According to the International Shark Attack File, Alabama has recorded only ten unprovoked shark attacks since 1837. In contrast, Florida has reported over nine hundred confirmed attacks, making it the state with the highest number of shark attacks. The rarity of such incidents in Alabama underscores the unusual nature of the recent sighting.

Expert Insights on the Sighting

Hunting of a Great White Shark (Carcharodon carcharias). South Africa Image Via Depositphoto

Sean Powers, the director of the Stokes School of Marine and Environmental Sciences, commented on the rarity of spotting a great white shark in Alabama’s Gulf waters. He noted that while these sharks are more commonly seen in New England and California, their presence in Alabama indicates a broader range than previously understood.

What Is the Significance of the Great White Shark Sighting in Alabama?

Great White Shark
Great White Shark with mouth open. Image via Depositphotos

The sighting of a great white shark in Alabama is significant as it marks the first recorded instance of this species in the state’s waters. It suggests a potential shift in the distribution or migration patterns of great white sharks, indicating broader ecological changes.

How Rare Are Great White Sharks in Alabama Waters?

great white shark
Image by Oleksandr Sushko via Unsplash

Great white sharks are extremely rare in Alabama waters. They are typically found in regions like New England and California. The recent sighting of Miss Pawla is an unprecedented event for the state.

What Are the Characteristics of Miss Pawla, the Great White Shark?

Great white shark, Carcharodon carcharias. Image via depositphotos.

Miss Pawla is an 8-foot-long juvenile great white shark, estimated to be around fifteen years old. She was observed with scars beside her left eye and additional marks on her side, indicating past encounters or injuries.

How Common Are Shark Attacks in Alabama?

Diver Barely Escapes Great White
Diver Barely Escapes Great White via DepositPhotos

Shark attacks in Alabama are very rare. Since 1837, there have been only ten unprovoked shark attacks recorded in the state. This contrasts sharply with Florida, which has seen over nine hundred confirmed attacks.

Why Is It Important to Study Great White Sharks?

great white shark
Photo by Gerald Schömbs on Unsplash

Studying great white sharks is crucial for understanding their behavior, migration patterns, and ecological impact. Research helps in conservation efforts and ensures the safety of both humans and marine life. The sighting of Miss Pawla provides valuable data for marine biologists.

What Should People Know About Shark Interactions with Humans?

Great White Shark. Image via Depositphotos

While great white sharks are known for their occasional interactions with humans, such encounters are extremely rare. Lastly, sharks are generally not a threat to humans and play a vital role in maintaining the health of marine ecosystems. Awareness and education can help reduce fear and promote coexistence.

Join our Forum for free today!

Animal Forum
Click Here
Grizzly Bear Spotted Feet From Alaskan Campsite Top 10 States With The Most Cougar Top 10 States With The Most Moose Top 10 States With The Most Coyote Top 10 States With The Most Elk