Few creatures strike more fear in humans than the great white shark. In reality, great white shark attacks on humans are rare – and it is even rarer for one of these attacks to be fatal. However, the size of the great white shark and its efficiency as a predator add to the perpetuation of this unnecessary fear.
The great white shark averages 4.5 m (15 ft.) in length, but some have been recorded as large as 6 m (20 ft.) long! They generally weigh up to 2250 kg (5000 lb.).
Great white sharks are blue-gray on the dorsal, or top, part of their bodies. This helps them blend in with the bottom of the ocean when viewed from above. The belly, or ventral, part of the body, is white. This makes it difficult to see the sharks from below, with sunlight shining in around them. They have strong, torpedo-shaped bodies and powerful tails that help them swim. Great whites can reach speeds up to 24 km/hr (15 mph).
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