Great white sharks are a fear of many people in the ocean and for good reason. They’re often used in movies involving the deep blue water, creating an unhealthy fear of the animals. That, plus their massive size and killer instincts leads to a massive predator that not many want to swim with.
Sure, great white sharks are large, but you may be wondering what size they are on average, and what the largest great white sharks ever recorded looked like in comparison. Read more below to find out.
What is the Average Size of a Great White Shark?
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It’s thought that, except for some very rare cases, the maximum size a great white shark can get is 20 feet. While there’s been no research into the maximum size a great white shark can get, most never make it above 20 feet. This has led scientists to believe that right around that length is the biggest a great white can get.
To help you understand how large a 20-foot shark really is, you also need to understand the full measurements. A 20-foot-long shark is roughly six feet tall. This means that even if you faced one down, they would be not only much longer than you but taller as well.
But 20 feet is the extreme. On average, a male great white shark reaches between 11 and 13 feet while a female great white shark reaches between 15 and 16 feet in length.
Great white sharks aren’t just long. Because they live in the water, they get to be much heavier than you might expect while remaining as fast as sharks are. A shark that is 17 feet in length weighs somewhere between 3,000 and 4,000 pounds while a shark closer to 20 feet weighs nearly 5,000 pounds.
The reason the weight fluctuates so much is due to a shark’s migration. Some sharks migrate as far as 1,000 miles in distance. Migrating at these distances causes serious weight loss for the sharks. Depending on when people catch and weigh the sharks, the numbers change quite a lot.
What Are the Largest Great White Sharks Ever Recorded?
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It’s not easy to tell what the largest great white sharks ever recorded are. There are ones said to weigh over 5,000 pounds but were never officially recorded. Similarly, some people have mentioned that they know people who caught great white sharks that were 37 feet in length.
In fact, if you look at the Guinness Book of Records, they reported a 36-foot and a 37-foot shark in their records. They found the shorter one in South Australia sometime in the 1870s while the longer one was found in Canada in the 1930s.
Most of these were proven false. Even those no one can prove false are in doubt due to the size difference between the actually recorded sharks and these “recorded” sharks. However, there’s still some ambiguity on what exactly the largest great whites are. The biggest great white shark currently alive seems to be a great white female named Deep Blue.
No one’s caught Deep Blue, so her weight and size are estimated. Based on these estimations, she weighs somewhere around 4,400 pounds and is 20 feet in length.
There was also one that was thought to be nothing more than a legend until it was caught and recorded by Disney. The great white shark was known as El Monstruo de Cojimar by the local Cubans that first saw the animal.
This monstrous shark weighed over 7,328 pounds and measured 21 feet according to those that found the shark. The great white was found in 1945 and was verified by shark experts.
Two other rather large sharks have officially been recorded as well. The first was in 1987 in Australia. It measures 19.7 feet, though the weight wasn’t known. The other was in 1988 off of Prince Edward Island and measured 20 feet long. Again, the weight isn’t known.