Interesting Shark Facts

How Fast Can A Great White Shark Swim?

Runnnnnnnnn! The shark is approaching you!


How fast can a shark swim? This question may hit your mind when you watch some videos of sharks. Sharks are born to swim with a high speed in the ocean water to capture the prey. The speed of sharks also depends upon the size of sharks, smaller sharks swim faster than the bulkier sharks.

The great white shark stands 1st among all the other sharks’ species for most of the recorded attacks on humans and being the deadliest predator of the ocean. It’s obvious that the speed of white sharks plays an important role in the hunting of prey. The current consensus among the researchers is to determine the exact swimming speed of the great white sharks, however, it’s quite challenging for them to measure the speed of the great white sharks as they are very active and powerful swimmers.

Do you have any idea about how speedy a great white shark can swim in the ocean water? No! Let’s drool into the article, you will be amazed to find out the surprising facts about the speed of the great white sharks!

How fast can a Great White Shark swim?

Sharks are the apex predators of the food web, the Great White shark holds the top rank among all the species of sharks because of their speed to attain this feat. The Great White sharks are capable of going 15 miles per hour with the speed of 56 kilometre per hour. They can travel long distances from South Africa to Australia and from Hawaii to California. So fast!

Are you wondering about how great white sharks manage to swim this fast?  Read on to know more!

The Great White Sharks swims so fast – How?

Before going into the details, keep in mind that there are some key factors which help white sharks to swim underwater with such a high speed. The skeleton is made up of cartilage which makes their body less dense and helps them to swim at a faster speed underwater.

Another factor which makes them swim fast is their tails. The white sharks swing their tails side to side with high speed so that they swim faster in the ocean water. They are also capable of conserving their metabolic heat and using the energy while drifting around the ocean with a speed of 2.4 kph (kilometre per hour) or 1.5 mph (miles per hour).

Did you know how long they maintain their speed? Few seconds, for an hour or more – Any guess? No? Let’s find out!

For how long can sharks sustain their top speed?

Just for 7 to 16 seconds! Stunned! Yes, that’s true – the data collected about sharks speed shows that they will accelerate quickly to seize their prey, it takes only and only 7 to 16 seconds to swim from the depth of 20 metres towards the upper surface of the ocean – just like Cheetah! They are not able to maintain their speed for a longer period of time so they conserve energy by swimming slowly. That’s why they hold the title of “fastest return migration of any known marine animal”.

While chasing a prey – how fast do they swim?

Normally great white sharks swim with the speed of 20 kph but when it comes to chasing prey – the speed reaches up to 40 kph. Sharks feed on dolphins as well, when they have to catch dolphins, they swim with the speed of 24.1 kph because they have to travel more rapidly than their high speed prey!

In a day, how far do a great white shark swim?

As the great white sharks are very active and influential swimmers, many people wonder about how far they travel in a day? It is obvious that they have to swim continuously because they need to breathe, how far do they travel, it all depends upon the swimming capability of the great white shark.

On an account, the great white shark can travel up to 50 miles at a speed of 25 kph, to a depth of 3,900 feet. They love to swim in warm water so they prefer the temperature of 50 to 70 oF of the surroundings and regulate their own body temperature according to it.

Is the great white shark the fastest swimming shark?

Even with this incredible speed, great white sharks aren’t the fastest swimming species, but they fall on 3rd on the list. So, what species are on the 1st and 2nd? Well, find it below.

1: Mako sharks

A Mako Shark can attain a speed of 96 miles per hour, which makes it the world’s fastest shark. The speculative species has a sleek body that resembles a torpedo, which helps reduce strain as it cruises across the ocean. Due to the fact that the Mako Shark is an obligate ram breather, it must swim to get oxygen. It can swim up to 36 miles a day. Its powerful swimming ability allows it to leap 9 feet into the air when breaching the water.

2: Salmon sharks

Observed to swim as fast as 50 mph, Salmon Sharks are the second fastest-swimming sharks in the world. With its sleek body, head, and tail, the Salmon Shark can cruise through the water without generating much drag. They can also make quick turns and flips when hunting their prey due to their sharp dorsal and pectoral fins. There have also been observations of them breaching the water at a distance of 20 feet from the water’s edge.

Final words

The Great White Shark can swim with the speed of 56 kilometre per hour and can travel 15 miles on an average, but when it has to chase a prey, they swim with the speed of 40 kph, they can only retain their top speed for 7 to 16 second and then return to normal speed – that’s why they hold a title of “fastest return migration of any known marine animal”.

Moreover, their cartilaginous skeleton and lunar tail helps them in speeding up while swimming, which makes them the top predator of the ocean ecosystem. That’s all about the speedy creature of the ocean!

About the author

Yumna Ahmad

An experienced content writer, photographer, and avid reader amazed by the sea world and its creatures. I am lettin people become fascinated with the ocean planet through my writings.