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5 Largest Great White Sharks Ever Recorded

Great White Shark. Image via Canva Pro

Great white sharks are among the most formidable predators in the ocean, known for their impressive size and powerful presence. While most great whites average between 13 to 16 feet in length, some individuals grow far larger. Here, we explore the top five largest great white sharks ever recorded.

5. The Cuban Great White

Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=31238816

In 1945, a huge great white shark was caught off the coast of Cuba. This shark’s dimensions were so extraordinary that they were initially met with skepticism.

Characteristics of the Cuban Great White

Great white shark, Carcharodon carcharias. Image via Depositphotos
  • Length: Reported at 21 feet (6.4 meters)
  • Weight: Estimated to be over 7,000 pounds (3,175 kilograms)

While there was some controversy surrounding the exact measurements, the Cuban great white remains one of the largest sharks ever documented.

4. The Malta Shark

In 1987, a massive great white shark was caught off the coast of Malta. This catch remains one of the largest confirmed specimens in history.

Specifications of the Malta Shark

great whit illustration
Píndaro Díaz-Jaimes, Manuel Uribe-Alcocer, Douglas H. Adams, Jose Miguel Rangel-Morales and Natalia J. Bayona-Vásquez, CC BY 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
  • Length: Approximately 23 feet (7 meters)
  • Weight: Estimated to be around 5,000 pounds (2,268 kilograms)

The Malta shark’s impressive size has been verified by marine biologists, making it one of the largest great whites ever recorded.

3. The Submarine

The Submarine is a legendary great white shark said to have patrolled the waters off South Africa in the 1970s and 1980s. While some accounts may be exaggerated, this shark’s story continues to intrigue.

The Submarine’s Alleged Dimensions

3D rendering of shark fin above water, with blue sky background. Image via Depositphoto
  • Length: Reports suggest up to 30 feet (9 meters)
  • Weight: Speculative estimates place its weight at over 7,000 pounds (3,175 kilograms)

Though many aspects of the Submarine’s story are based on anecdotal evidence, the possibility of such a large great white captivates the imagination.

2. The Australian Great White

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

Another enormous great white shark, often referred to as the “Australian Great White,” has been spotted in the waters off the coast of Australia. While not as well-documented as Deep Blue, this shark’s size is legendary.

Characteristics of the Australian Great White

Great white shark
Great white shark at Isla Guadalupe, Mexico. Image via Terry Goss, CC BY-SA 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/, via Wikimedia Commons
  • Length: Estimated at around 21 feet (6.4 meters)
  • Weight: Presumed to weigh over 5,000 pounds (2,268 kilograms)

Encounters with this shark have been rare, but the occasional sighting and photographic evidence have cemented its place among the largest great whites.

1. Deep Blue: The Largest Confirmed Great White

Deep Blue. Credit: Ocean Ramsey.

Deep Blue holds the title for the largest great white shark ever recorded. This massive female has become a celebrity in the marine biology world.

Specifications of Deep Blue

Great white Shark Swimming. Image by Gerald Schömbs via Unsplash
  • Length: Approximately 20 feet (6 meters)
  • Weight: Estimated to be over 4,500 pounds (2,041 kilograms)
  • Age: Believed to be around 50 years old

Deep Blue was first sighted near Guadalupe Island, Mexico, and has been extensively documented by researchers and divers, providing valuable insights into the life of these ocean giants.

What is the scientific name of the great white shark?

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

The scientific name of the great white shark is Carcharodon carcharias. This name is derived from Greek words meaning “sharp tooth” and “ragged.”

How large can great white sharks grow?

Tagged great white shark in the blue ocean
Great white shark in the blue ocean. Image via Depositphotos

Great white sharks can grow up to 20 feet (6 meters) in length and weigh over 5,000 pounds (2,268 kilograms). Some unconfirmed reports suggest even larger individuals. Like Deep Blue.

Where are great white sharks commonly found?

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

Great white sharks are found in coastal waters worldwide, particularly in the United States, South Africa, Australia, Japan, and parts of South America. They prefer temperate waters but can occasionally be found in cooler regions.

What do great white sharks primarily eat?

Great White shark
Great White shark while coming to you on deep blue ocean background. Image via Depositphotos

Great white sharks have a varied diet that includes fish, seals, sea lions, dolphins, and even small whales. They are apex predators and play a crucial role in maintaining the balance of marine ecosystems.

How do great white sharks hunt their prey?

Great white shark
Great white shark By Elias Levy – Great White Shark, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40577027

Great white sharks use a combination of stealth and speed to hunt. They often approach their prey from below and deliver a powerful, upward strike. Their keen sense of smell and ability to detect electromagnetic fields help them locate prey.

Are great white sharks solitary or social animals?

Great white shark smiling
Great white shark smiling. By Hermanus Backpackers – Great White Shark Cage Diving, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7889952

Great white sharks are generally solitary creatures. They may come together in areas with abundant food, such as seal colonies, but they do not form social bonds like some other marine animals.

How fast can great white sharks swim?

Great white shark at Isla Guadalupe, Mexico.
Great white shark at Isla Guadalupe, Mexico. By Terry Goss, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1561215

Great white sharks can swim at speeds of up to 25 miles per hour (40 kilometers per hour) in short bursts. This speed helps them catch swift prey like seals and dolphins.

How do great white sharks reproduce?

Great white
Great white breaching. Image by Mlbay via Pixabay

Great white sharks are ovoviviparous, meaning that eggs develop and hatch inside the mother’s body, and the young are born live. A female great white can give birth to a litter of 2 to 10 pups.

How long do great white sharks live?

Great white shark breaching. Image by Alex Steyn via Unsplash

Great white sharks can live for about 70 years, making them one of the longest-living fish species. Their slow growth and late maturity contribute to their long lifespan.

Do great white sharks pose a threat to humans?

Great White Shark Swimming in Blue Water. Image by Gerald Schömbs via Unsplash

While great white shark attacks on humans are rare, they do occur. Most attacks are cases of mistaken identity, with the shark mistaking a swimmer or surfer for its natural prey. Great white sharks do not typically target humans as food.

How do researchers study great white sharks?

great white
Great white shark, South Africa. Image via Depositphotos

Researchers use various methods to study great white sharks, including tagging and tracking their movements, observing their behavior in the wild, and examining their diet through stomach content analysis.

What is the conservation status of great white sharks?

Great white shark

Great white sharks are listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). They face threats from overfishing, bycatch, and habitat degradation. Conservation efforts are underway to protect these magnificent predators.

How do great white sharks regulate their body temperature?

great white shark
Image by Oleksandr Sushko via Unsplash

Great white sharks are endothermic, meaning they can regulate their body temperature. They have a specialized blood vessel structure called a countercurrent heat exchanger, which helps them maintain a body temperature higher than the surrounding water.

Why are great white sharks important to the ecosystem?

great white shark
Image by Alex Steyn via Unsplash

Great white sharks are apex predators, playing a crucial role in maintaining the balance of marine ecosystems. They help control the population of other marine animals, preventing overpopulation and ensuring a healthy ocean environment.

What is the biggest threat to great white sharks?

The biggest threat to great white sharks is human activity. Overfishing, bycatch, habitat destruction, and climate change all pose significant risks to their populations. Conservation efforts are essential to ensure their survival.

Conclusion

Great White shark ready to attack
Great White shark while coming to you on deep blue ocean background. Image via Depositphotos

The great white shark is a marvel of the ocean, and these five giants are a testament to the species’ impressive size and power. From the well-documented Deep Blue to the legendary Submarine, each of these sharks offers a glimpse into the awe-inspiring world of these apex predators. As marine research continues to advance, we may discover even larger great whites lurking in the depths of our oceans.

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