Ridgeback Hammerhead Shark vs Great White Shark

Written by Emmanuel Kingsley
Published: September 5, 2022
Image Credit A-Z-Animals.com
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The ridgeback shark, also known as the silky shark, is a large shark belonging to the Carchahinidae family and bears the scientific name “C. falciformis”. The great white shark, on the other hand, is known scientifically as the Carcharodon carcharias and belongs to the Lamnidae family. They are both prominent shark species with tons of differences and peculiarities, some of which we will explore in this article. Let’s dive right in, shall we?

Comparing Ridgeback Shark Vs Great White Shark

Ridgeback SharkGreat White Shark
SizeLength: 6ft-7.5ft
Weight: 400lbs-420lbs
Length: 18ft-26ft
Weight: 2,450lbs-4938lbs
Appearance Sickle-shaped pectoral fins, relatively small dorsal fins, silky skin, dark brown/blue-gray dorsal side, and generally white ventral side Stream-lined bodies, pointy snouts, onyx-colored eyes, crescent-shaped tails, dark gray to light gray dorsal side, and wide teeth. 
Location and Habitat Location: Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian oceans
Habitat: insular and continental shelves; deep waters
Location: Indian, Atlantic, and Pacific oceans
Habitat: waters with sea surface temperatures; insular and continental shelves
DietCarnivorous; red crabs, mackerel, squids, yellowfish tuna, albacore, etc. Carnivorous; whale carcasses, dolphins, sea lions, seals
Gestation Period and Litter SizePeriod: 12 months
Litter size: Up to 16
Period: 14 months
Litter Size: Average of 9
Lifespan23 years 30 years

Key Differences Between Ridgeback Shark and Great White Sharks

The major differences between ridgeback sharks and great white sharks lie in their size, appearance, and diet. We will be looking into these differences as well as other contrasting details and peculiarities below. 

Ridgeback Shark Vs Great White Shark: Size

great white shark leaping out of water
Great white sharks can measure up to 20 feet in length.

Alexyz3d/Shutterstock.com

The ridgeback shark and the great white shark differ greatly in size, with the great white shark being the superior species. The ridgeback shark measures between 6 – 7.5ft in length and holds an incredible weight of 400-420lbs. However, it almost pales in comparison to the great white shark which has a length of 18 – 26ft and measures between 2,450 – 4938lbs in weight.

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Ridgeback Shark Vs Great White Shark: Appearance

The ridgeback shark and the great white shark also differ to an extent in terms of appearance, even though they are both sharks. The ridgeback shark is known for its small dorsal fins (both first and second) and sickle-shaped pectoral fins. Additionally, it has a dark brown/blue-gray dorsal side and a mostly white ventral surface. 

Great white sharks, on the other hand, have incredibly large and streamlined bodies, pointed snouts, large dorsal fins, and crescent-shaped tails. They also have onyx-colored eyes, dark-gray/light–gray dorsal sides, and whitish bellies. 

Ridgeback Shark Vs Great White Shark: Location and Habitat

The ridgeback shark and the great white shark, like most other species, can be found in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. However, there are some subtle differences in their preferred habitats and temperatures. 

Ridgeback sharks prefer temperatures above 23°c and they are mostly found on insular and continental shelves. Great white sharks also love insular and continental shelves and they prefer portions with great depth and ocean surface temperatures. 

Ridgeback Shark Vs Great White Shark: Diet

Silky shark swimming in the Bahamas
The ridgeback shark includes red crabs and chub mackerel in its diet.

Matt9122/Shutterstock.com

It is pretty much common knowledge that the ridgeback shark and the great white shark are carnivorous, as is the case with most shark species. However, there are some differences in their actual diet. Adult ridgeback sharks prefer red crabs and chub mackerels while the young tend to favor jumbo squids and the like. Meanwhile, young great white sharks love stingrays and squids, but once they become adults, they take on large sea mammals like seals, sea lions, dolphins, and dead whales. 

Ridgeback Shark Vs Great White Shark: Gestation Period and Litter Size

Ridgeback sharks have an interesting reproduction process, in that the males often mate with multiple females and there is no such thing as a breeding season with the ones that live in tropical waters, which means they can mate all year. However, those that live in warm temperate waters have a set breeding season. The males also release pheromones but the pheromones do not impact social structures. Females have an average incubation period of 12 months and a litter size of up to 16 pups. Also, ridgeback sharks are viviparous and they give birth to live young who are then nourished through the placenta. 

There is not much to be said about the great white shark’s mode of reproduction other than the fact that they are ovoviviparous, which means fertilized eggs remain in the female bodies to develop. Gestation takes an average of 14 months and mothers can spawn an average of 9 pups at once. 

Ridgeback Shark Vs Great White Shark: Lifespan

Great white shark
Great white sharks have a lifespan of 40 years.

iStock.com/ELizabethHoffmann

The ridgeback shark and the great white shark also differ in terms of their average life expectancies. While ridgeback sharks are expected to live up to an average of 23 years, great white sharks can go as long as 30-40 years, making them the more lasting species. 

Ridgeback Shark Vs Great White Shark: Conservation Status

The ridgeback shark and the great white shark feature on the IUCN red list alongside many other shark species. However, they have different conservation statuses. While the ridgeback shark is listed as “near-threatened“, the great white shark is listed as “vulnerable” on the list. This puts the great white shark ahead in terms of the likelihood of extinction.

Just for clarity, “near-threatened” species are species facing possible extinction in the future but are still holding strong while “vulnerable” species have gone beyond “near-threatened” and are at the risk of becoming extinct if proper measures are not taken.  

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