How many teeth does a great white shark have?
This iconic ocean predator has about 30,000 teeth - but not all at the same time.
Unlike humans, who only grow one set of adult teeth, great white sharks - like all sharks - constantly replace theirs.
Sharks have several rows of exposed teeth lining both the upper and lower jaw. Additional rows of teeth form behind these and gradually move forward, replacing the front biting teeth as they wear away and fall out. This explains why a shark's tooth is not an uncommon find.
How many teeth do great white sharks have?
A great white has up to 28 exposed teeth in its upper jaw and up to 25 in its lower jaw, giving a total of around 50. But there will be five or six rows of teeth coming through behind those, each at a different stage of development.
Sharks are able to renew their teeth because they are set into the gum, rather than into the bone (as humans' are). An endless supply of teeth is an important adaptation - sharks, remember, have no other appendage to assist them when hunting and eating.
Great whites feed on a range of prey, from small fish to large marine mammals. Seizing and subduing a hefty, struggling seal can inflict some serious dental damage, hence the constant need for fresh new gnashers. A great white will likely get through a whopping 30,000 teeth in its lifetime.
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Shark teeth vary in form and size according to prey type. Those of the great white are large, flat, triangular and serrated, ideal for tackling large and agile prey. In contrast, those of the grey nurse shark are long, slender and pointed, while those of the zebra bullhead shark resemble a five-pointed crown.
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