See The 21-Foot Shark That May Be The Largest Great White Shark On Record

Written by Kirstin Harrington
Updated: August 30, 2023
© Willyam Bradberry/
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Key Points:

  • Watch video footage of a 21-foot shark which just might be the largest great white shark ever recorded.
  • Great white sharks were thought to live 20-30 years, but now scientists think their lifespans are much longer – up to 70 years.
  • Deep Blue, a tagged female shark, is considered the world’s largest female shark at 20 feet long and over 5,500 pounds.

Great white sharks are one of the planet’s apex predators. These creatures are the world’s biggest predatory fish, with a reputation for power and speed. Great white sharks grow to be around 15 feet long on average. However, there are some of these beasts that can grow much larger.  

Great whites are the world’s largest predatory fish.

©Martin Prochazkacz/

Deep Blue is one of these sharks; she is the world’s largest female great white shark. She’s around 20 feet long and weighs more than 5,500 pounds. Most sharks tend to live between 20 and 30 years. Great whites, however, can live up to 70 years and Deep Blue is in her 50s! 

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Divers give thanks to a tag she was implanted with. Mark Mohler and Kimberly Jeffries were able to identify her as Deep Blue, and marine specialists could recognize the distinctive marks on her body. 

Deep Blue, according to experts, is the biggest great white ever observed and has survived for more than five decades despite pollutants, hunting, and angling, all of which shorten the lifespan of great whites. 

Experts claim that, despite their reputation as fearsome sharks, Deep Blue does not have an aggressive nature. She was thrown into the limelight in early 2019 when she was discovered feasting on a whale corpse by a National Geographic documentary team off the coast of Hawaii.

great white shark
Great white sharks typically live 20-30 years, but some have been known to live into their seventies.

©Alexius Sutandio/

Photographer Mark Mohler caught an underwater film of marine researcher Andrew Gray and colleague photographer Kimberly Jeffries swimming mere feet from Deep Blue, cameras in hand, capturing rare images of the shark.

The footage, seen on the Youtube Channel “Truly,” shows just how enormous this apex predator is compared to the humans swimming beside her. Female great white sharks are typically bigger than males and prefer to live alone. While pregnant, they dwell at great depths and approach the coasts to give birth. 

Deep Blue was swimming about the boat as Mauricio Hoyos Padilla, a marine scientist and shark motion specialist was doing research with his crew. Michael Maier, a videographer and scuba diver, documented the historic meeting from a comfortable distance.

“On the second day, I was in the water, and we had to wait,” says Maier, “But all of a sudden, there she came. Deep Blue was very calm and just doing circles around us. That’s when we realized how big she was.”

Deep Blue swam about the boat’s cage for a bit before disappearing into the depths. Padilla wound up getting a close encounter with the ocean’s queen, high-fiving her like an old friend. As she swims in circles around the diving cage, there’s something elegant and calm about her. 

“I was thinking, ‘what in the world is this?’ Because it was way bigger than any shark I’d expect,” Gray commented about his experience. The crew speculated that the shark was pregnant based on the sight of her stomach, yet her larger stomach might simply be due to her incredible size.

Don’t Miss This Incredible Video Of The Largest Shark Ever Filmed

How Long Do Sharks Live?

Scientists are finding that great white sharks have longer lifespans than they previously thought – and some of these fearsome predators are living to a ripe old age of 70 or more. Previously believed to have a lifespan of 20-30 years, great white sharks are now thought to live longer and also take longer to mature, and that’s not a good thing. Before they are mature enough to reproduce, fishermen have been hunting and killing them, which has led to great whites receiving the “vulnerable” conservation status.

Great white sharks are the ocean's apex predators.
Great white sharks have longer lifespans than previously thought.


The Featured Image

Great White Shark attack swimmer
Rare as they are, unprovoked shark attacks do occur, and it’s not always clear why. Discover precautions to keep in mind.
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About the Author

When she's not busy playing with her several guinea pigs or her cat Finlay Kirstin is writing articles to help other pet owners. She's also a REALTOR® in the Twin Cities and is passionate about social justice. There's nothing that beats a rainy day with a warm cup of tea and Frank Sinatra on vinyl for this millennial.

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