For many, the great white shark is the king of the ocean and is one of the most feared sea creatures. While the whale shark is the largest, the great white is notorious for being one of the largest predatory sharks. Sharks are one of the sea’s top predators, and more than 500 species are lurking in the water. Whale sharks and basking sharks are some of the largest shark species, but they are not dangerous, even if you encounter them in the water. When looking at a great white, you know it is deadly, but have you ever wondered how strong a great white’s sharks bite force is?
Great whites are some of the most feared sharks and live throughout the world’s ocean, with higher populations near South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. They have mouths filled with knife-like teeth, rough skin and are adept predators. Great whites are one of the ocean’s largest predators and have a powerful bite. Let’s learn about the bite force of a great white and how strong it really is.
What Is The Bite Force Of A Great White Shark?
Great whites are capable of producing a bite force of up to 4,000 psi. Their bite strength will depend on the size of the shark, as larger sharks make much more force. Great whites vary in size, with the largest reaching up to 20 feet long. On average, female great whites grow between 15 to 16 feet long, while males only grow to around 11 to 13 feet. Most great whites weigh between 1,200 to 2,400 lbs.
The 4,000 psi measurement from a great white was estimated by Australian scientists using 3d computer modeling. By looking at a great white skull and muscle design using x-ray imaging, they could accurately measure how hard a great white could bite. In their 4,000 psi measurement, they used a model of a large 21-foot great white shark, which is enormous compared to other great whites the ocean has to offer. While that bite force could contend to be the highest among any animal on Earth today, ancient sharks like megalodon had a bite force that may have been 10 times stronger!
Average large females of around 15 feet can produce about 1,200 psi in bite force, but they are still very dangerous animals. Computer modeling helps determine an animal’s bite that is too dangerous to test. It has helped figure out the bite strength of animals like crocodiles and even the ancient megalodon. The teeth of the great white shark are one of the most dangerous things about its bite and why they are so deadly.
The Teeth Of A Great White Shark
Great whites have a mighty jaw, but their teeth are also helpful in making their bite much more deadly. In five rows in their mouth, the great white has around 300 sharp teeth and continuously replaces them as they fall out. These teeth are sharp, measuring approximately 3 inches long and 2 inches wide, and they have serrated edges to cut through the prey they are eating.
Losing teeth is a problem that a great white has to deal with, but it is no issue, unlike when our teeth fall out. A great white loses its teeth regularly but immediately replaces them with new ones. Since they feed so often, they can replace their teeth an endless number of times, with some estimating a shark goes through more than 20,000 teeth in its lifetime.
How Do Great Whites Use Their Bite To Eat?
Great whites feed once every 2 to 3 days. Since these sharks cannot chew, they need more time to digest their food properly. The teeth and bite of great whites help it kill the various animals that it feeds on. Great whites eat seals, fish, and other oceanic life. Their teeth help slice and rip through their prey, ripping off chunks of meat and swallowing it whole. Great white’s teeth help them get through the skin, as well as the bone of the prey they eat.
Sharks do not eat every day and spend the majority of their life swimming. Great whites must continuously swim to survive and die if they stop. The reason for this is they must constantly push water through their gills to breathe. To sleep, they keep swimming while actively resting their brain.
How Great Whites Use Their Bite To Breed
While their bite is important in feeding, another important way the great white uses it is for breeding. Sharks breed sexually, with females becoming ready to breed at around 15 years and males becoming ready at around 10 years. Biting is one of the most important parts of breeding for the great white to reproduce successfully.
As a mating ritual, males bite females to try to get their attention, but this bite is not deadly. Some females will have bite marks and scars covering their bodies. Great whites males will also bite to hold onto the female when mating until it is successfully done. This biting helps hold on when reproducing and impregnates females with between 2 to 12 sharks after mating is complete. These pups take a year to be birthed and are already a large length of 5 ft.
Are Great Whites Dangerous
A great white’s large size and fearsome bite make it one of the most dangerous shark species to come across. The United States has the highest number of shark attacks in the world, but most are not fatal. Great white sharks are feared in movies and media, but they account for more shark attacks than any other shark species.
Over 300 great white attacks have been recorded throughout history, with around 16 percent of them being fatal. Great white sharks attacks are mostly unprovoked, as most will not want to mess with this monster. The bite force of a great white, as well as its size, makes it one of the most deadly species of shark in the ocean.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Martin Prochazkacz/Shutterstock.com
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