at the top of the food chain Great White Shark

Hear all about it!

The Great White Shark is an apex predator. This means that it is at the top of the food chain.

These sharks have very good colour vision and use their exceptional sense of smell to detect prey. They also have organs that can sense the tiny electromagnetic fields generated by animals.

Great Whites stalk their prey from underneath and then attack on the surface. Their powerful tails mean they are fast swimmers. They can reach up to 24 km/h and can leap completely out of the water when attacking.  

The Great White lives either by itself or in pairs. These sharks are migratory. They move up the coast during spring and move back down during the summer. Have been recorded swimming several hundred kilometres off shore and crossing open ocean. They have also been known to dive down to 600m.

Threats include; intentional killing (harm to harvest body parts), accidental injury and death from commercial fishing, human disturbance particularly from tourism activities and protection measures like shark nets and pollution.

(photo: courtesy of the Department of Fisheries, WA)

Where you can find a Great White Shark

Conservation Status

Listed as Vulnerable under ICUN (2014). Listed as Vulnerable under Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 (Western Australia). Listed as Vulnerable under EPBC Act 1999. The waters around Rottnest Island are a designated Marine Reserve.
  • Extinct
  • Extinct in Wild
  • Critically Endangered
  • Endangered
  • Vulnerable
  • Near Threatened
  • Least Concerned

Help protect Rottnest's marine environment

  • Do enjoy watching them on their own terms
  • Do take litter with you or use bins provided
  • Do report to WA Fisheries or Island Rangers if sighted