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Probably the most widely-known of all sharks and the most dangerous in temperate waters is the Great White shark or Carcharodon carcharias. It is mostly found in relatively shallow offshore waters.

The Great White shark is actually not white at all. It is dark grey or blue on its back and upper sides. The dark color becomes dirty white or cream on the lower sides and belly. Under each fin, there is a black spot and the fins are often dark on the tips. The sharks' eyes are black.

The largest of the carnivorous sharks, the Great White's size ranges from 21 to 37 feet in length. There are no known specimens that are smaller in length. No juvenilles have ever been caught. It is believed that the Great White is a relative to the great Carcharodon megalodon whose teeth show their sizes reached nearly 100 feet in length. This is more than twice the size of the Great Whites we find today!

The Great White shark swims with a stiff-bodied motion even though their body is flexible. They keep their body temperature warm which is why they stay away from tropical waters. They could overheat.

The Great White has excellent senses of smell and vision. This is helpful when hunting. Their main source of food are seals and sea lions, although fish are also eaten. It is possible however for them to mistake a human being for a sea mammal. Once they have tasted the human, they usually reject the taste, but have already caused serious injury.

The Great White is now a very rare fish because it is the ultimate predator in its food chain. This makes it less abundant than its prey. It is also hunted for its flesh for food and because of the movie JAWS, Great Whites are seen as "man-eaters." When they are caught, hunters get a lot of money for even one tooth. Eventually, Great Whites will have to be placed on the endangered list of animals because this mysterious beast is dwindling away.