Great White Sharks in Captivity

There aren’t any. But, aquaria have many times tried to make it so, and it always goes bad for the shark. The basic problem is that great white sharks are pelagic, and it is very hard to keep pelagic creatures in a confined space, and the largest aquaria are very confined from the point of view of a large pelagic animal.

greatwhitefeedingonsealAnother problem would eventually become important in the event that an aquarium managed to keep a great white shark alive long enough. When they are young, great white sharks dine on fish. When they are adults, they seem to prefer mammals. So, imagine feeding time at the zoo with an adult great white shark ….

Anyway, VOX has put together a really excellent video on the history of great white sharks in aquaria. Wildlife biology or marine biology high school teachers take note, this video has a lot of learning in it about stuff you probably teach!

For example, you learn what “pelagic” means.

Here’s the video:

I’ve seen great white sharks in the wild several times. You can to. You just need to know where to look. I suggest the southern coast of South Africa. Oh, and if you are going to go around spotting sharks, you’ll need a good shark spotting guide.

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One thought on “Great White Sharks in Captivity

  1. Way back in the day, I worked at the Vancouver Aquarium and we tried to keep blue sharks on display. Another good pelagic species. They did not seem to recognize tank walls or the glass and continually rammed into them until their noses were a mess. Then they got infections and died.

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