The Great White Sharks Collection

Browse & download a collection of underwater footage featuring Great White Sharks hunting Cape Fur Seals in the warm waters of the Garden Route.


The Great White Sharks Collection


About the Species

Older than dinosaurs and over 400 million years old, great white sharks are the largest predatory fish on earth. However, the media-perpetrated perception that great whites are bloodthirsty beasts is arguably one of the greatest misunderstandings and marine myths of all time. While shark attacks do occur, it is evident that white sharks are not fearsome, human-hunting creatures. If anything, white sharks can be pictured as curious. Behavioural scientists clarify that most of the time, white sharks are curious and use their teeth and nibbling behaviours to explore, much like puppies.


Physical Traits
  • While most fish are cold-blooded, great whites are technically warm-blooded. This is due to their unique adaptation that derives and circulates heat from their swimming muscles.
  • Their teeth are positioned in five rows and are renewed and replenished by a never-ending supply of teeth.
  • Employing the lateral line underneath their skin, white sharks can detect underwater vibrations, such as the pulse or oscillation of prey.
  • Their most unique sense is their electroception. Using their ‘ampullae of Lorenzini’ (the dot-like sensors near their snout),they can detect even a millionth of a bolt underwater, as well as the heartbeats or electrical fields within the ocean.
Reproduction and Lifespan
  • White shark mating and nursing grounds are not entirely understood or documented. However, it is approximated that they have a 12-month gestation period. They are viviparous, meaning they preserve the fertilised eggs in the womb and once the eggs hatch, they are birthed live.
  • White shark litters comprise about 2-10 pups, and the pups immediately part from their mothers at birth.
  • White sharks reach maturity (ability to reproduce) quite late compared to other species (10 years for males and 12-33 years for females), and recent research has shown that white sharks can live up to 70 years. Hence their alarming re-population rates.



  • White Sharks are thought to be solitary species,only congregating to mate. However, recent studies claim that white sharks occasionally display social behaviour by hunting in pairs.
  • When great whites congregate to mate or hunt, they communicate through body language (fluffing gills, lowering pectoral fins, nodding heads, moving jaws, etc.).
  • Because white sharks immediately part from the mother at birth, siblings do not stick together either. In fact, sibling relationships are quite the contrary. White shark embryos have been called carnivorous because they feed on unfertilised eggs and unhatched siblings in the womb.

Predators and Prey

  • White sharks are prey to few natural predators. However, Orca (killer whale) attacks are well documented, such as the mysterious wash-ups of white shark carcases on South Africa’s coastline. The carcasses were intact, with distinct incisions and missing livers, the work of the ocean’s most pristine ocean killer: an Orca.
  • Great whites mainly prey on marine mammals, fish, sea birds, and turtles.
  • They migrate to islands colonised by seals and wade in the bordering waters during seal breeding season.


Threats and Climate Change

  • A white shark’s biggest threat is human impact. Humans hunt white sharks for their teeth, fins, and cartilage (for consumption and, less frequently, supplements), and frequently caught and killed as bycatch in both active and lost fishing gear.
  • Although it has been more prominent in the past, white sharks are still targeted and killed to prevent shark attacks. 
  • In the context of climate change, white sharks have a large distribution (occurring and migrating all over). Thus, they have a higher likelihood of adapting and shifting territories to preferred temperatures amid rising sea surface temperatures.

Conservation Status

  • According to the IUCN Red List, white sharks are labelled as Vulnerable.
  • They are vulnerable due to their slow maturity and regeneration rates, especially as some females do not reach maturity until more than 30 years of age.
  • Thanks to their protection in the 1990s, great white populations are no longer collapsing and gradually improving.

Current Research

  • Rumour has it that white sharks change the colour of their skin (asserted by fishermen, shark scientists, and frequent sea-goers alike). To test this claim, a study was recently conducted (by taking photos using a colour scale and taking skin samples). The results suggest that a great white’s skin does change colour in the presence of different hormones.
  • Shark attack prevention is a prevalent field of research. Now, we have access to brilliant tools such as shark deterring wetsuits, bracelets, surf leashes, and surf wax, which all primarily aim to ambush sharks’ electroreceptors with the aspiration that it drives them away.

Charisma Factor

  • Their bullet-like bodies (up to 85% muscle) and crescent-shaped caudal fins (their tails) are well adapted to reach top speeds of 57 km/h and assure incredible prey ambushes and miraculous breaching.
  • Great white sharks are some of the most feared predators on the planet, thanks to cinematic classics such as Jaws, Sharknado, and the Megalodon. However, interesting studies posit that you are more likely to die from the following incidences than a shark attack: a falling coconut, a rogue champagne cork, a ladder, a mismanaged lawn mower, a vending machine accident, and even texting.

Myths and Legends

  • The Fijian islands all have slight variations of how they perceive the major god Dakuwaga, who was half man and half-shark. He blessed fishermen with bountiful catch and protection from harm, and in some islands, he is also the god of the sun and moon.
  • Hawaiian mythology integrates sharks the most, with at least six dominant shark gods. Kamohoali’I, the king of shark gods and protector of the Hawaiian islands, Ka’ahupahau, a shark goddess who wards off shark attacks, Kane’apua, a shark god who bears entertainment and joy, Keali’ikau ‘o Ka’u, who birthed a green shark that salvages those trapped at sea, Kuhamimoana, who contributes to a fisherman's fruitful catch, and Kane’I’kokala, a shark god dedicated to rescuing shipwrecked villagers.

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