A Great White Bite!

Great-White-Jun-24-BlogIf you are aged 12 or above, then you may have seen the classic film, Jaws. Everyone here at Education Quizzes has seen it at least once! The film is over 40 years old, but is still a firm favourite with many people. I watched it when I was a teenager and, even then, could tell that in lots of scenes it wasn’t a real shark. I watched it again a couple of years ago. Given the advance in sophisticated cinematic techniques since the 1970s, I thought it would be silly and very fake. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it is still a very good film, despite the rubber sharks!

Jaws is modelled on a great white shark. Despite the film, these sharks are not as huge as you might think. The largest, a mature female, can grow as big as 6.1m in length (20ft), but this is unusual. It only has one natural predator – the killer whale. Of all the sharks, it comes top in having the most recorded attacks on humans.

What is interesting about attacks on humans is whether they are deliberate or not. Let me explain. In the last 20 years there have been 31 confirmed attacks in the Mediterranean Sea, most of which were non-fatal. The shark will bite once and then break off contact. It’s as if the shark is biting the object (a human in this instance) to see whether it’s edible or not. They also do this to other objects such as buoys, flotsam and surfboards. Whether they decide we are not tasty enough, or whether they think we have too many bones (rather like us deciding not to eat a fish that has hundreds of tiny bones!), something deters the shark from gobbling us up whole.

There is another theory which could hold true. Great whites may give one powerful first bite and then wait for the prey to weaken before tucking in. This theory has come about because when a solo diver is attacked, they tend to be partially eaten; however, if there is another diver at hand to help the attacked, they both escape with minimal damage.

The second theory makes sense to me. Why bother having a frenzied attack (and wasting energy) when one big bite should do enough damage for prey to not be able to escape?

If you want to find out more about great whites, then the National Geographic has lots of interesting information about them – including fantastic photographs!

Our amazing planet is awash with plenty of curious creatures and plants. At Education Quizzes we are passionate about nature – that’s why we have over sixty free-to-play quizzes all about the natural world. From toads to trees and mammals to minerals, there’s bound to be something there for you. So go and test your natural knowledge today!

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