COLOR: Like Salmon sharks, great white sharks are dark gray above and the underside is whitish. The shark’s colorations help camouflage it both from above and below. The great white shark’s coloration is an important advantage for this predator; it is camouflage as it searches and attacks unsuspecting prey.
SPEED: Great white sharks can swim at speeds approaching 25 miles per hour (40 km per hour) with burst speeds to 35 miles per hour (56 km per hour).
PREDATORY CHARACTERISTICS: Great white sharks are opportunistic, but, like other predators, individual white sharks likely become proficient at taking a few prey species and other prey species only irregularly. The reason for this is that the techniques for locating and safely securing large and dangerous prey are different for each species preyed upon. For example, an adult white shark that's learned to take seals may have learned to drag the adult seals to the bottom until the prey has drowned after which it is consumed. Larger more dangerous prey such as adult elephant seals are more likely to be struck from behind and allowed to bleed out and die before the shark returns to feed; or, for another individual great white shark, relentless and continued attack may be preferred. A great white shark that is successful with a certain prey species may be less likely to bother learning the necessary skills and techniques needed to diversify its diet. Some great white sharks have learned to scavenge whales killed by orcas. Adult great white sharks tend to prey more on marine mammals than fish, preferring prey with high contents of energy-rich fat.
- Wright, Bruce A., 2011. Alaska Predators, Their Ecology and Conservation. Hancock House Publishing. 119 pages. http://www.hancockhouse.com/products/alapre.htm
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