Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Great White Shark

One of the reasons I came to South Africa was to see Great whites in person and boy have I done that. Kleinsbaai is the great white shark capital of the world - you are basically guarenteed to see them here as they feed on fur seals around False Bay. So why the interest in great whites? When I was young (long ago!) Jaws was one of the first films I went to see but it wasn't it that got me 'hooked' on great white sharks. Just after Jaws a new comic came out called 'Action' and one of the story strips was of a great white shark called 'Hook Jaw' which went around devouring everyone it could. The strip was graphic and gory and I loved it. I've been trying to find any info on the strip but could only come up with these:

Hook Jaw

Lost issues of Hook Jaw

Here are some facts about sharks:

You are more likely to get killed by a coconut than a great white shark but I don't think replacing programs like "When Sharks Attack" with ones called "When Coconuts fall" would have the same impact.

Female Great whites sharks are bigger than males and reach sexual maturity at about 20 years of age. They can give birth to up to 9 live young - each over a metre in length.

Over 1/3 of a Great white sharks brain is dedicated to smell.

The great whites that come to Kleinsbaai are actually only transient - staying for up to 2 months before moving on. A shark tagged here has turned up in Perth Australia - over 4000 miles away.

One of their main feeding areas here is shark alley, a stretch of water between two islands, Dyer island which has a colony of penguins and Geyser island which has a large colony of fur seals. People nickname it as the shark equivalent of a Macdonald drive-through. (I'll have a mcfur-seal and a penguin shake to go please.)

For every human killed by a shark, there are over 10 million sharks killed by humans.

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