A great white shark has about 300 large, triangular-shaped teeth with jagged, serrated edges, arranged in many rows in its mouth. When a shark clamps down on something, or someone, it will shake its head violently from side to side, in order to rip off hunks of flesh. The first two rows of teeth are used for grabbing and cutting the prey, while the teeth in the last rows are replacements for teeth that get broken, get worn down, or become substitutes for teeth that fall out. A great white can lose and replace as many as 20,000 teeth over a lifetime.
Seven thousand pounds of trouble:
- A great white shark reaches adulthood about nine years after birth. The largest can grow to as long as 21 feet (6.4 meters) and weigh more than 7,000 pounds (3,175 kg).
- Great white sharks eat fish and other sea animals, such as seals and sea lions. The predator’s liver can make up to 24 percent of its body weight.
- The great white has only one natural enemy. Killer whales, or orcas, can paralyze a shark by flipping it upside down. They then hold the shark by the mouth, and eventually suffocate it.