Which animal attacks great white sharks? - Dutch Shark Society (2023)

Great white sharks are the ocean's best predators and one of the most dangerous sharks in existence, but even these predators are hunted.

With all the weird and wonderful creatures that inhabit the seven seas, who has the audacity and audacity to hunt down these poachers? Below we see what animals hunt great white sharks.

Although great white sharks are top predators in many oceans, they also prey on orcas and humans.

Humans hunt great whites out of fear and accidentally from bycatch and pollution, while killer whales hunt and kill great whites for their nutritious liver.

Pop culture, nature documentaries and public opinion paintinggreat whites like the greatestand the "worst" fish in the ocean; However, they are not above consumption.

But how exactly do killer whales and humans kill great white sharks? How do great whites protect themselves? And how many are left?


  • Do great whites have predators?
  • Orcas and great whites
  • How do people kill great whites?
  • How great whites protect themselves
  • How many great whites are left?
  • How do great whites recover from predators?

Do great white sharks have predators?

As hard as it is to believegreat white sharks, one of the ocean's largest predators, does have natural predators.

When we think of great whites, we often picture a 16-foot, 4,000-pound monster, but we often forget that great whites don't start out that way.

While adult great white sharks have few predators to worry about, they are only about 3.3 feet long at birth. This size is ideal for opportunistic predators (including other sharks). With increasing growth, however, the number of natural predators decreases.

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When adult, the great white shark's predators are limited to other larger great white sharks, orcas, or humans.

Although there are some casesKiller whales hunt and kill great white sharks, this is not a common occurrence of which we are aware, rather the behavior of expertsSharks hunt Orcas.

This behavior was first noted in 1997 on the Farallon Islands. Then, in 2017 and 2018, orcas began hunting great white sharks in False Bay.

Which animal attacks great white sharks? - Dutch Shark Society (1)

Humans pose by far the greatest threat to great white sharks of all their natural predators.

However, other marine animals may attack a great white shark, but not necessarily as predators. An important note is that there isn't much concrete evidence, but there are times when these animals will attack a great white shark.

Some of these animals include:

(Video) Dolphins vs Great White Sharks & Shark Breaches Completely Out of The Water

  • Pottwale, in very rare situations
  • Other shark speciesduring binge eating or when they feel threatened
  • Huge and colossal squid. Although some scientific evidence shows that great whites migrate to areas where they doOctopusoccur, they must not include them.

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Orca and great white sharks

Two megafaunas of the marine environment, killer whales and great white sharks are impressive in their function and design, and both are vitally important to the ocean's marine environment as top predators.

Which animal attacks great white sharks? - Dutch Shark Society (2)

A brief overview of killer whales

  • killer whales (orcinus orca) are called "killer whales" and often live up to this name. Orcas have been seen hunting whales and other large prey, earning them the nickname "whale killers" by archaic seafarers.
  • These marine mammals are the largest dolphins. The largest killer whale was 32 feet long and weighed 22,000 pounds.
  • Ö Average males, North Atlantic killer whales, are between 19 and 22 feet long and weigh 9,570 pounds, while females are 18 feet long and weigh between 5,100 and 8,200 pounds.
  • Killer whales have between 40 and 56 cone-shaped teeth that are not replaced.
  • Killer whales can reach speeds of up to 34.8 mph when hunting.
  • Killer whales have many prey species including seals and sea lions, fish, other dolphins, porpoises, whales (large and small), birds, squid, cuttlefish, rays and sharks.
  • Sometimes killer whales also specialize in a certain type of prey and attach themselves almost exclusively to it.

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A quick look at great white sharks

  • Great White Sharks (Carcharodon carcharias), also called great white sharks, reach 15 to 16 feet as females and 11 to 13 feet as males.
  • Some of the largest fish grow to 20 feet, but this is less common.
  • Most weigh in between 1500 and 4000 pounds; some go as high as 5,000 pounds.
  • They can reach speeds of up to 35 km/h.
  • Great whites have 300 teeth in 7 rows, which are replaced throughout their lives.
  • Great whites hunt seals (and sea lions), dolphins, fish, squid and other sharks.
  • Although thought to be solitary, researchers have observed large whites hunting in groups where they work together and share meals.
  • Great whites are found primarily in temperate and subtropical waters and are migratory over long distances.
  • Great White Sharks are intelligent creatures with highly developed hearing, smell, sight, touch, taste, and electromagnetism.

Are Great White Sharks Afraid of Orcas?

Killer whales have such an intimidating presence in the ocean that great whites actively avoid them. When a killer whale enters a favorite feeding area for great white sharks, the great white sharks flee the area.

A 2009 study led by Salvador Jorgensen, a senior researcher at the Monterey Bay Aquarium who monitored a pod of 17 tagged great white sharks in the Farallon Islands area, observed them quickly leaving popular feeding grounds.

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This behavior was considered unusual as sharks often stay in this area for several weeks, months or even a year.

They concluded that their early departure (by collaborating with motion data from other marine species) was whenKiller whales invaded the areawho left the great whites.

Even if the orcas only stayed a few hours, the sharks left anyway and stayed away for the rest of the season.

Other sharks entered the area, sensed that the killer whales were there, and quickly moved away. It could be smelling great white killer whales or other sharks that have fled the area.

Scientists have identified a phenomenon known as the "fear landscape" that occurs when a predator enters an area. All other species adopt cautious behavior; This includes other predators leaving the area.

The term "fear" is probably wrong; However, great white sharks avoid confrontations with orcas. Both hunt similar prey sources and therefore compete with each other. During these competitions, killer whales win at the top, and great whites know this, so they choose the better side of caution and get out as fast as possible.

How Do Orcas Kill Great White Sharks?

When a killer whale kills great white sharks, they target the greasy, oily liver. Killer whales work in pairs or groups to round up a great white shark. They then approach and target the great white shark's living region (just behind the pectoral fin).

When in range, the orca bites the shark's side and retrieves the liver by pushing it out of the wound.

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In other cases, a pair or group of orcas group together on a great white, each grasping one side (usually the pectoral fins) and pulling in the opposite direction, opening the skin and allowing access to the liver.

When hunting other sharks, on very rare occasions, they maneuver the shark to the surface, where they smack it over the head with their tail.

Some orcas have even learned that flipping a shark over enters a catatonic state called "tonic immobility," which allows the orcas to bite the liver without issue.

In 1997, one of the first sightings of two orcas killing a juvenile great white shark was made by whale watchers off Farallon Island. The great white shark approached the orcas to snatch the sea lion they were eating and the orcas retaliated by beating the shark until it died and later eating its liver.

(Video) Great White Sharks Went To Hawaii: Orca Kicked a Shark

A Great White's liver makes up about 28% of its total body weight. Great white sharks don't have a swim bladder, so the oils found in the liver (about 106 gallons) help the sharks swim.

These highly nutritious organs (great shark livers contain about 90% high-energy lipids) are excellent sources of calories for orcas and are therefore valued.

The remainder of the shark is discarded to crabs and other detritivores. Or, for our scientific delight, being washed up on beaches as evidence of the incredible power of the ocean's true predator, the killer whale.

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How do humans kill great white sharks?

Humans are the planet's predators, substituting all of the food chains for better or for worse. We attack what we want, and we have more impact than many realize.

Humans are great white sharksmain predators. We affect their population numbers directly by killing them, but we also do so indirectly.

The various ways in which we humans precede the great whites include:

Which animal attacks great white sharks? - Dutch Shark Society (3)

The Effects of Fishing on Great White Sharks

One of the ways to hunt great whites is by fishing. Great whites are considered good food and are caught commercially to supply various markets.

However, they are also caught in the fishermen's esteem. Great white sharks are among the ocean's largest predators and are considered prized sport fish (in places where they are not protected). Many fishermen therefore want to feel the “rush” of catching one.

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Great white shark teeth also fetch high prices as ornaments and decorations.

We can divide fishing into:

  • Direct, when great whites are actively caught for their meat/prestige/teeth etc.
  • Indirectly, when great white sharks are caught as bycatch. These by-catches include trawlers and other commercial fishing vessels, sharknets, gillnets and other deterrents.

Another problem that threatens and kills great white sharks is overfishing. We compete with Great White Sharks by removing sources of prey and leaving them without enough food.

This scarcity causes great white sharks to abandon the area in search of other prey or die. For a.

  • Poaching.Some cultures value shark fins and other body parts, and even illegally catch these fish to obtain the parts they want.

Fishing has a tremendous impact on shark communities and large white populations. Sharks caught as by-catch and poached are the biggest problems in the fishery, as the other forms are mostly regulated by law.

The Influence of Boats and Other Vessels on Great Whites

Human recreation, trade, transit, and marine activities by other vessels also affect great white shark populations.great white sharksoccasionally they fall victim to a boat propeller which (generally) opens a cut in the dorsal region.

These wounds are often severe, and even if not immediately life-threatening, the shark may be weakened, unable to hunt, or vulnerable to predation.

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(Video) Killer whales eating white sharks in Mossel Bay, South Africa

The Effects of Pollution on the Great Whites

By far the most devastating effect humans have is pollution in all its forms.

By polluting the ocean, we either directly kill sharks and their prey sources, or we poison those sources, leading to bioaccumulation and eventual shark deaths.

Marine pollution includes chemicals, sewage, sewage, plastics, radioactive waste, petroleum and more.

Climate change and ocean acidification (extra carbon dioxide released from the ocean) are additional risks for sharks.

As temperatures rise, ice caps melt and the ocean undergoes a period of desalination, one can only wonder at the future impact on sharks and other marine life. At the same time, increased acidity kills coral reefs and reduces ocean productivity.

How do great white sharks protect themselves?

Although killer whales and humans hunt great white sharks, they are not without protection.

  • Great white sharks are large, powerful fish armed with hundreds of sharp teeth, and they use those teeth to defend themselves.
  • Its size is also a defense. Catching and eating a 20 foot shark is more of a challenge than a 3 foot shark.
  • A shark's physiology and behavioral response also act as a form of protection. Sidelines make sharks aware of what's going on around them. These lines are extremely sensitive to vibration, detecting movement from up to 820 feet away.

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As the 2009 study showed, if the great whites see orca in the area, they will abandon the area (flight is probably more appropriate) and not return for months, even though the area is a prime feeding ground.

  • Great whites can disappear in their environment. Its coloring is a form of camouflage often used for hunting. However, it helps them hide from predators, especially when diving to great depths.

Their skin is also tough and abrasive, preventing some predators from biting.

How many great whites are left?

Although great white sharks are protected in certain areas (South Africa, Australia and California), they are still listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN as of 1996.

Great white sharks are difficult to inspect because they migrate and spend much of their time in the deep sea. However, scientists believe that large white populations in certain areas have declined by as much as 70%.

As in a report byGuardian, in 2010 there were only around 3,500 Great Whites left. General estimates range from 3,000 to 5,000 sharks. Some scientists think this is overly optimistic that there may only be 1,000 to 2,500 Great Whites left.

Shark surveillance programs are a good place to start, but we can't say for sure how many great whites are out there.

As food sources are depleted, competition from humans, orcas, and other marine life increases, increasing the pressure on great whites to survive.

How does a great white shark recover from predators?

Whether or not a great white shark recovers from predation depends on how severe the injury is. When caught wild, great white sharks are usually released with minor injuries and some fatigue that heal and pass quickly.

When sharks are caught in nets, they are likely to drown unless removed quickly. If a great white shark is hit by ship propellers, it can be seriously injured. These injuries can be fatal. But in other cases, they need time to heal.

If an orca attacks a great white shark, your chances are very slim.

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There are instances where a great white shark gets away with a few bite marks and a puncture or two. However, if the orcas removed the shark's liver, the shark would die.

However, great white sharks are fast healers. Researchers have mapped the great white shark's genome into ato study2019 instead.

(Video) Great White Shark: Beyond the Cage of Fear

This study found that sharks, particularly great white sharks, have genera that promote wound healing and repair at the molecular level.

This finding means that when not fatally injured, great white sharks can heal from most injuries relatively quickly (within weeks), with increased blood clotting and faster tissue growth due to an increased number of these specific genes. .


Although great white sharks are considered the ocean's top predators, they also have their enemies.

Humans are the biggest threat from fishing, pollution and boats; However, killer whales have also been known to kill great white sharks by eating their livers and letting the rest rot.

Great whites often leave areas for up to a year when a killer whale arrives.

Because of this pressure, great whites are dwindling, and while it's difficult to count them accurately, there are probably around 2,000 to 3,000 left.

Daniel Stoke

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Dan, born in the UK, has been a dive instructor and guide in Egypt's Red Sea since 2010.

Dan loves to inspire safe, fun and environmentally conscious diving and particularly enjoys the opportunity to dive with sharks or survey local wrecks.

When not spending time underwater, Dan can usually be found biking and hiking in the surrounding desert of Sharm.



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