I did not know the Great White was an endangered animal. It has been on the list since 2004. They are the largest predatory fish and sometimes weigh up to 5,000 pounds.
Most people think they are mindless killing machines, but not so. They are very selective in their food. They come up and "taste" first to see if they want to come back and gobble. They can smell a drop of blood a mile away. They have sensors in their head that recognizes the heartbeat of fish. They recognize the shapes of such prey as seals. That's why surfers sometimes get attacked. From below, their surfboard with legs dangling over resemble a seal.
Most people also think Great Whites are confined to cold waters. Also not true. They come into the Gulf of Mexico when the water temp reaches around 60 degrees, like January. And they are getting more and more acclimated to the warmer waters. I also did not know they visited our Gulf Beaches...well, out a little ways. Mostly around here we see Bulls and Hammerheads, plus the various and sundry other kinds; the smaller nurse shark, the "sort of" harmless sand shark. Florida no longer has a seal population, but we have giant Grouper, a favorite Great White snack!
A secret: I have not been swimming in the Gulf or the Atlantic since I saw Jaws years ago! And now that I know Great Whites come here, I will not be changing my swim habits.
But, aren't they absolutely beautiful?
I have a few treasured sharks teeth I picked up on the beach over the years.
I can identify a couple as Bull and Tiger (probably) but most I don't know what they are. Just shark's teeth. No Great Whites. I'm told the black ones are very, very old. The brown and grey are still young. Not necessarily young sharks, just young to the beach.
My biggest treasure is this:
I THINK it is a Megalodon, which has been extinct for over a million years. I've asked an expert on the internet, but have not heard back yet. I only know that it is very, very, very old. And it came from one BIG shark! You can see it is well worn on the sides and the pointed tip is worn completely smooth and rounded by the action of the water and sand that tumbled it for many, many years before depositing it on the beach for my eyes to find.
UPDATE: I HEARD BACK FROM CRAIG AT http://www.fossil-treasures-of-florida.com/
and he told me that it does look like a small Megalodon tooth. Imagine that!
I love sharks. They are part of our planet and Mother Nature's pets. I also respect them. A lot!
shark photos courtesy the internet