Seven Reasons Female Great Whites are Worth Celebrating - Oceana Canada
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July 7, 2015

Seven Reasons Female Great Whites are Worth Celebrating

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Great white shark at Isla Guadalupe, Mexico.
(Photo: Terry Goss [GFDL (, CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or CC BY 2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons)


Meet some of the most well-known female great white sharks: Mary Lee, Deep Blue and Joan of Shark.

Mary Lee is a 16-foot great white weighing in at about 3,456 pounds that has been tagged by OCEARCH, a shark research nonprofit. She has her own Twitter (with over 80,000 followers!) that regularly updates with her location. As of June 22, she was spotted just off the shores of Daytona, Florida.

Deep Blue is another famous lady due to her size and on-camera performance. She is estimated to be just over 20 feet long and at least 50 years old, and is the largest great white ever filmed. Watch her high-five researchers here.

Lastly, Joan of Shark is a 16-foot shark electronically tagged by Australian officials. She has been spotted swimming around the beaches of Albany, Australia and was featured during Shark Week on Bride of Jaws as scientist embarked on their search for her.

Here are seven reasons why these females run our oceans:

  • Great white sharks are top predators in ocean ecosystems — and their only main predator are humans.
  • One of the largest fish in the sea is the great white shark. Females tend to be larger than males, making them one of the more dominant fish in the sea. The biggest great white ever measured was over 23-feet long, and these massive sharks can weigh up to 6,500 pounds.  
  • Pregnant female great whites are swimming capsules of power. When pregnant, females carry fully grown shark pups. After mating, the female develops multiple eggs that actually hatch in her womb. Females give birth to pups that average about five feet long. Meaning if a female had just two pups, she would be carrying 10 feet of life inside her.  
  • Great whites tend to be loners, but cool loners — free spirits who prefer to spend their time alone.  However, some research shows that when great whites do travel together, females run the show.  They operate under a social hierarchy dependent on size, power and sex. Larger sharks dominate smaller sharks, veterans dominate new sharks, and ultimately — females dominate the males.
  • Female sharks are made with tougher skin… for mating. Sharks don’t have hands or feet but they do have teeth. Thus, the only way to physically stay together during mating is for the male to bite down onto the female. Because of this, female sharks have developed skin able to withstand this mating technique (they are basically made of armor).  
  • These girls are masters of disguise. Very few females have ever been studied, and reports suggest as few as 10 have been dissected. Not many are held captive and when they are, they’re not quiet about it. In 1980, Sandy, an 8-foot great white garnered much attention when she was finally released from captivity after refusing to eat and banging against the walls until they let her go.
  • Finally, these top predators simply embody grace and power:











(Photo: YouTube / Discovery)