Come Dive with great white sharks. A creature that remains one of the ocean’s great secrets.
Mysterious, cloaked in myth, superstition and an abundance of bad press, there are few known actual facts about these elusive predators. We do know that they are far more fearsome in our imaginations than in reality. Perhaps it is because we know so little about them that we fear them so irrationally. While we know a lot about their physical characteristics and internal physiology and even a good deal about their feeding behaviour, this is where the knowledge ends. How much of their behaviour is ‘learned’ in terms of intellect and how much is instinctual remains a great mystery. While great white sharks often display high levels of curiosity, it’s hard to say if this is based on complex intelligence or a more visceral characteristic based on being an opportunistic feeder.
The social behaviour of great whites eludes us still. Although solitary, we know they congregate around large food sources, like Seal Island, where there seems to be a distinct pecking order, taking into account sex and size. However, interactions besides those around food, have never been documented. It’s also puzzling that some white sharks have been known to swim vast distances, thousands of miles, while others seem content to have a smaller range. The patterns and purpose of the sharks that do migrate has yet to be discovered. Also, mating in great white sharks is far from being understood. No one has ever seen white sharks mate or give birth, although we know that the eggs hatch inside the female and are born live and are about one meter in length. While we know that white sharks take a long time to become sexually mature, about 12-15 years, the where, how and frequency of mating is unknown, as is the gestation period.
While the science ‘sound bites’ on the news these days tend to be reserved for Mars exploration, in my opinion, it would be better to know and understand more about the workings of our own planet before spending trillions of dollars heading off into the stars. It’s unbelievable really, how vast our ignorance of the ocean remains at this day and age. The ocean’s mysteries are fascinating; even within this one species, the great white shark, there is still so much to be discovered.
Come shark cage diving with African Shark Eco Charters and get a glimpse into the secret life of a great white shark. Come appreciate the unknown.