Thanks to modern technology, shark enthusiasts can track the movements of some of their favorite animals. One giant great white shark known as “Penny” was recently in Casco Bay. How did scientists know that she was there? Her location “pinged” thanks to an electronic tag that sends her movements.
When she was tagged in April 2023, Penny was a juvenile great white. She measured 10 feet 3 inches from her snout to her tail and weighed 522 pounds. She was tagged off the coast of North Carolina, near Ocracoke.
Penny’s tracker showed that she traveled north from Ocracoke. Less than a month later, she “pinged” off the coast of Chincoteague in Virginia. At the end of May, Penny spent a couple of days close to Atlantic City. According to her tracker data, this was the closest that she got to shore until her arrival in Casco Bay. Casco Bay is an inlet and part of the larger Gulf of Maine. Portland, Maine is the closest city.
She continued swimming north, covering a distance of over 600 miles since May. While sharks in Casco Bay are not common, it’s likely that these ocean predators swim around the Gulf of Maine. Scientists began tracking their movements and locations closer in recent years and have found a number of sharks that frequent the area. Another shark, which scientists named Anne Bonny, also made her way up to Maine. Anne Bonny and Penny were initially tagged around the same time and have followed similar paths during their travels.
How Big Do Great White Sharks Get?
Size and weight are two metrics that scientists use to estimate the age of a great white shark. Female great whites typically get around 15 or 16 feet long. Penny is a juvenile, just over 10 feet long.
One of the largest great white sharks ever recorded frequented waters off the coast of Hawaii. Known as “Deep Blue,” this female shark was 20 feet long and weighed around 5,000 pounds. Deep Blue first made an appearance in the 1990s. Researchers estimate her age around 50 years, possibly more. She was even featured on Shark Week after video footage was captured in 2013. While Penny may not be quite as imposing as Deep Blue (yet), she’s still an impressive juvenile shark who is fun to track.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Alessandro De Maddalena/Shutterstock.com
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