Great White Shark Attacks: Different Aspects And Facts


Great White Shark Attacks: Different Aspects And Facts

The great white, tiger, and bull sharks are among the top three shark species in the ocean. These three sharks are the most feared of all shark species and are notorious for causing the most human injuries.

There is no doubt that the oceans’ big three are highly dangerous to humans. However, the great white shark is the species with the cruelest nature. They have a distinct attacking style and enjoy ambushing their prey or victim. Because of their proclivity to attack, they are known as the most aggressive of all sharks.

Great White Shark Attacks
Image Credit: Great White Shark by
Travelbag Ltd
(CC BY 2.0) from Flickr

This post will shed light on great white sharks’ attacking proclivity, style, and motivations. In addition, we can learn a lot about this species by studying its attacking and hunting habits.

So, without further ado, let’s dive into the world of the great whites.

Are Great White sharks dangerous?

When we think of sharks, we imagine them on a rampage. However, this is not the whole story. As a result, let’s shed some light on whether great white sharks are actually dangerous.

When we consider an animal dangerous, we focus on its propensity to attack. Great white sharks could be considered dangerous in this light. This shark species is responsible for more human attacks than any other shark species.

However, this is not a killing machine. They don’t go out of the way to find humans. Instead, most attacks result from their inquisitive nature and mistaking humans for seals.

Do Great White sharks attack?

Image Credit: Great white shark underwater by Elias Levy (CC BY 2.0) from Flickr

The great white shark is the shark that most people are afraid of. Furthermore, pop culture has instilled a great deal of fear in our minds about these sharks.

If there is one thing that great white sharks are known for, it is their penchant for unprovoked attacks. The most threatening shark species is the great white shark, known for its aggression and fatal attacks on humans. These sharks have been responsible for over 300 human attacks, some of which were truly gruesome and fatal.

Great whites believe that their initial bite provides the most catastrophe. Therefore, they make sure to rip at least one large chunk of meat from their victim. However, if they are in a predatory mood, the attack can become quite gruesome. 

How do Great White sharks attack?

Great white sharks have 24 top teeth and 26 bottom teeth. As a result, they have a powerful bite force and a powerful thrust. So, it would be interesting to learn more about their offensive strategy.

Great white sharks use both bite force and thrust. During the initial phase of the attack, these sharks bite deeply. Great white sharks can decapitate their prey in a single bite by using both of their jaws. They use their upper teeth to puncture their prey’s flesh while their lower teeth hold the prey in place. In their case, the force of the attack, rather than the bite force, has the greatest impact.

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Great white sharks have long, sharp teeth that can grow up to 7 inches long. As a result, they don’t need much bite force to harm. Instead, like a whole set of steak knives, their teeth serve as guillotine blades.

Why are Great White sharks considered the most aggressive sharks?

Because of their aggressive nature, great white sharks are among the most feared marine creatures. However, it is worthwhile to shed light on why these sharks are regarded as so aggressive.

One of the main reasons great white sharks are regarded as the most aggressive sharks is their proclivity for unprovoked attacks. They also have the most recorded human attacks to their name. Furthermore, these sharks account for nearly half of all shark attacks worldwide. It is the only shark species capable of doing so. 

Nonetheless, great white sharks are at the top of the food chain, with only killer whales as natural predators. These sharks are big, heavy, and deadly. Yet they are not mindless killing machines. 

Do Great White sharks attack humans?

Great white sharks are considered one of the most voracious shark species on the planet, and they are also the most aggressive of all sharks. And, thanks to popular culture, we recognize these fish as man-eaters.

The great white shark has the most attacks on humans. This shark species has been responsible for 333 human attacks. Around 52 of these were fatal attacks. In the context of human attacks, great whites are second to none. Yet, great whites are not man-eaters all-in-all. 

Several behaviors of great white sharks may explain their attacks on humans.

  • Inquisitive– Simply nibbling and taking 1-2 chunks of meat to investigate any strange object.
  • Territorial– An attack to defend one’s territory.
  • Natural reaction– Attacks carried out in response to seal hunters acting on instinct.
  • Predatory– When the shark is angry, it causes the most damage.

Can Great White sharks eat humans?

Humans resemble seals, which is one of the main reasons for shark attacks. Great white sharks can protrude their jaws to bite their prey. Can they, however, consume humans?

First and foremost, sharks dislike the human taste. Therefore, we are not their main course. However, there have been reports of great white sharks dragging their victims underwater and devouring most of their body parts. Such instances, however, are uncommon. So, while great white sharks are capable of eating humans, they rarely do so.

Most of the time, these sharks prefer to eat a piece of human flesh just to explore it. They would rather eat other sea creatures than hunt down humans.

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Why do Great White sharks attack humans?

Image Credit: Great white shark off South Africa by Hermanus Backpackers (CC BY 2.0) from Wikimedia

One of the most common phobias is the fear of being attacked by sharks. Although sharks do not typically attack humans, there is always a reason why they do.

Great white sharks are naturally curious, and they would attack humans to satisfy their curiosity. Most of the time, they would bite humans in order to investigate them. In other cases, they may simply confuse humans with seals, one of their prey. Whatever emotions great white sharks have, they will never attack humans in order to hunt them down and devour them.

Having said that, we have a lot of misconceptions about shark attacks. In reality, such attacks are extremely rare. Records show that great white sharks prefer to nibble on humans rather than devour them. In most attacks, they would simply leave the victim after one or two bites. 

Do Great White sharks attack surfers?

If you step into a shark-infested water body, you will always be at the risk of being attacked by apex predators. Yet, surfers remain at a greater risk of being attacked by great whites. Why is it so?

Great white sharks prefer to strike from beneath. Surfers from below the water’s surface resemble seals and sea lions. This mistaken identity plays a significant role in great white shark attacks on surfers.

In other words, the popular theory that white shark nibbles on humans are exploratory is correct. 

However, another theory proposed by experts is that baby/young sharks possess relatively poor vision than matured sharks. In addition, they have only recently begun incorporating seals into their diet. As a result, they are more likely to confuse surfers, boards, and seals.

Great White shark attacks per year

If one shark species has the most record of human attacks is the great white shark. So, let’s explore their attacking statistics per year.

In 2021, there were 73 confirmed unprompted shark attacks globally. Great white sharks caused the majority of attacks. With 47 confirmed cases in 2021, the United States leads all countries in unprovoked shark bites.

Which area has the highest record of shark attacks?

Great white sharks dwell in all cold-water oceans worldwide. However, they prefer to stay close to the shore, making it dangerous to swim in shark-infested waters. Here are the top waterbodies/beaches known for great white shark attacks.

Volusia, Florida

Since 1882, this county has witnessed 299 shark attacks. New Smyrna Beach, in particular, had the most cases per square mile of any beach in the world. As a result, this beach has been dubbed the “World’s Shark Attack Capital.”

South Africa

Since 1905, there have been over 251 shark attacks in South African waters. Because of the country’s shark protection policy, there will be a lot of great white sharks in South African waters.

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New South Wales, Australia

New South Wales houses some of the most spectacular beaches in Australia and a large number of sharks. Since 1700, there have been approximately 238 shark attacks in this area, with 47 of them being fatal.


When we talk about sharks, we can’t forget about Hawaii! Hawaii consists of two islands: Ohu and Maui. Ohu had seen 42 shark attacks since 1828, while Maui had seen 64. Tiger sharks and great white sharks are two species that cause havoc in Hawaii.

Brevard County, Florida

This place has witnessed multiple shark attacks between 2007 and 2017- 244 attacks. 

Top great white shark attacks

The desire to explore the marine world has driven many people to risk being attacked by great white sharks. While some have ended up dead, others have lived to tell the story.

Here are the top 5 great white shark attacks worth knowing about.

The 1749 Attack

The first recorded shark attack occurred in 1749 in Cuba. Brook Watson went swimming in the waters off Havana Harbor when he was disrupted by a shark, which attacked him multiple times. Fortunately, he survived the incident, but he lost his leg.

The Pacific Coast attacks in 1984

That year, four shark attacks occurred off the Pacific Coast of the United States over 15 days. The gruesome attack on 28-year-old Omar Conger, pulled under the water by a mighty great white, began the chain of events.

The Shirley Ann Durdin Attack in 1985

Peake Bay, South Australia, was the site of one of the most heinous shark attacks in history. Shirley Ann Durdin was attacked by a great white shark 20 feet long. Unfortunately, the attack ripped Durdin in half, and she passed away due to the ordeal.

The 1953 Australia Attack

Rodney Fox was spearfishing off the coast of Australia in 1953 when a great white shark attacked him. The shark dragged him underwater. He gouged at the shark’s eyes, which saved him. However, he was left with fractured ribs, a bare artery, protruding wounds across his stomach, and a ruptured lung. Gruesome!


So there you have it. Our investigation into great white shark attacks revealed that these sharks are especially unsafe and may pose a threat to humans. This is because they have a penchant for unprovoked attacks in order to investigate any foreign item.

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