What Do Great White Sharks Eat?

White Death! The Great White sharks!

One of the largest predatory creatures of the oceans!

The Great White sharks are known to be aggressive hunters with heavy bodies, they are capable of chasing the prey with extremely high speed. They mostly feed on the large mammals that weigh more than hundred pounds! The average length of white sharks is 20 feet and the weight reaches 5,000 pounds which means that the body of white sharks are suitable to live a life of top hunters of  the ocean waters!

Knowing the incredible facts about White sharks, the first thought that hits your mind is what they eat or what powers the white sharks? Let’s read on to reveal the secret diet chart of the magnificent creatures of the ocean!

What do The Great White sharks eat?

All White sharks are carnivores which means their diet is completely based on meat! Most of the species are pinnipeds – they love to eat large mammals such as sea lions or seals. The White sharks live in the shallow water where they tend to meet large numbers of seals and sea lions to feed on. Following are the common foodstuff included in the diet of The Great White sharks:

Crustaceans: The items include Risso’s dolphins, Dusky dolphins, Bottlenose dolphins, Harbor porpoises, Humpback dolphins, Dall’s porpoises, Cuvier’s beaked whales and Beaked whales.

Pinnipeds: The dietary food includes sea lions, seals, brown fur seals, Northern elephant seals, harbor seals, gray seals and California sea lions. This menu is the White shark’s favorite menu!

Fishes: White sharks feed on fishes such as Mackerel and Oceanic sunfishes, and other sharks. Mussels, shrimps and clams and small fishes.

Seabirds: sea birds such as albatrosses, petrels, storm-petrels, shearwaters, frigatebirds, tropicbirds, boobies, terns, and noddies are part of the White sharks menu.

The Great White sharks being the top predator need a lot of energy to keep their body in balance. Other than the above mentioned items, they have also been observed to scavenge meat from the carcasses of the dead whales. They even attack and kill whales such as Humpback whales, when they are scarce of food. Octopus, lobsters, penguins, sea turtles are also included in the diet of White sharks.

Are humans included in their diet menu?

No! Luckily humans are not part of their diet! Though, there are many cases of sharks attacking humans but no such case till date have been stated about the shark’s feeding on humans. They tend to attack people only when they feel threatened, out of curiosity or mistaken identity of their prey but once they understand the reality, they back off and set them free, however most of the time people get severely injured after sharks bite.

Let’s see how the incredible creatures hunt their prey!

How do The Great White sharks chase their prey?

The White sharks are exceptional predators, they detect the prey with a special organ called Ampullae of Lorenzini – the organ helps the sharks to perceive electromagnetic fields produced by the movement of the victim in water. Once they spot the target, swim towards it, attack and hit it hard with the snout and wait for the prey to bleed and die! The dinner is ready!

Well, the Great White sharks follow different methods to hunt their prey:

Underwater approaches: The method is mostly used by shark’s species. In this, the shark’s swim under the water and wait a few feet away from the prey, afterwards, they suddenly attack the prey, moving its head up and down so sturdily clutching the target! Unlucky victim!

Surface charge approach: In this approach, the sharks travel towards the surface of water and wait for the prey to make a move.

Inverted approach: This is an uncommon method, the sharks tilt its body and move on its back to attack the prey.

Final words

The Great White sharks being the top of the food web have a varied type of diet. They are opportunists – they feed on everything which comes in their vicinity. As they are the giant creatures, they are usually sound in an area where there is a lot of food available for them. Seals and sea lions are the most favorite food items of the Great White shark. Besides this, humans are not the part of their diet menu, they attack humans, not for food but only when they mistakenly identify or feel threatened! So dive carefully and be calm when you encounter the gigantic predator of the shark’s kingdom!  

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.