Great white sharks are some of the most notorious inhabitants of the sea. They’re portrayed in folklore and Hollywood as giants of prehistoric proportions. This has left many people wondering, out of curiosity and/or fear, how big these marine leviathans are.
While many young land animals (including humans) are born as adorable, awkwardly proportioned examples of their species, the white shark enters the world as a perfectly proportioned miniature replica of the adult it will become. Pregnant female whites have been caught with pups inside measuring 2.5 -3 feet long, and the smallest sharks found in fishing nets have been around 4.5 feet. This has led many to believe that whites are born at a length of 4-5 feet.
Like many other shark species, the females are most often larger than the men. A fully mature female averages 15-16 feet long, and older males average 12-14 ft.
Anyone who’s a fan of the movie Jaws, recalls Quint the shark hunter stating with certainty that the monster shark terrorizing the waters near Amity Island was 25 feet long. Can these sharks get that big?
Game fishers and shark hunters for more than a century have reported seeing/catching white sharks more than 20 feet long, but just about all these claims have been unconfirmed or later disproven. As any fisherman will tell you, it isn’t unusual to overestimate the size of a prized catch – because of prideful exaggeration and wishful thinking. Scientists and shark experts utilize the jaws and teeth of these deceased animals to retroactively estimate the true size of”record breaking sharks,” and almost always find them to be several feet shorter than advertised. This can be also true when”official measurements” of the shark at the docks differ from the first claims of the proud angler who landed it. Over a few indignant shark fishermen believe the concept that a dead fish shrinks after a period of time from water, and that their white decoration had gotten considerably smaller between the time it was caught and the time that somebody official had gotten around to measuring it!
A few of those record-length white sharks weighed well over 3,000 pounds, yet even this is a source of controversy and debate. Great whites are caught with a few hundred pounds of meat in their stomachs.
The largest great white sharks that have been correctly and reliably measured have been between 19 and 21 feet long. Even in a”mere 17 feet,” great white sharks hold the distinction of being the largest predatory fish in the waters that are modern-day.