Great White Sharks Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Kristina Washington-Morris

Kristina has taught a variety of elementary classes and has a master's degree in elementary education.

Great white sharks have a reputation for being one of the world's deadliest animals, but why? This lesson will discuss great white sharks, including their size, what they eat, where they live and their life span.

What Are Great White Sharks?

Movies and television shows often make great white sharks seem like the scariest fish in the sea. What makes this sea creature such a feared animal? Aside from being widely known as one of the biggest predators of the ocean, the great white shark is frighteningly big! They can grow to be 20 feet long--that's a little longer than the average pickup truck. They weigh 4,000 to 7,000 pounds! That's nearly as much as the weight of 120 medium-sized dogs.

The great white shark can grow to be 20 feet long.

Even though great white sharks are very large fish, they are swift swimmers. They can swim up to 35 miles per hour. Great white sharks are shaped like a torpedo or bullet, and this helps them swim quickly through the water.

Great white sharks also have an amazing number of serrated teeth, which are sharp teeth that have jagged edges like a saw. Humans only have 32 permanent teeth, but a great white shark has 300 teeth! There are so many teeth that these sharks need seven rows of pearly whites in each jaw to fit in their mouth. Great white sharks often lose teeth when biting into their prey. This isn't a big deal, though--a shark can grow replacement teeth and may go through 1,000 teeth in its lifetime.

Great white sharks have seven rows of teeth.

What Do Great White Sharks Eat?

Great white sharks are carnivores, which means they eat animals. They use their impressive speed and rows of serrated teeth to eat a variety of sea and land creatures. Fish, other sharks, seals, sea lions, seabirds, and dolphins are just some of the marine animals they eat. These prey are generally quick movers, and great white sharks will often use the element of surprise to catch their prey. The shark may breach, or jump at least partially out of the water, at high speeds to catch a meal.

A great white shark breaching for food

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