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Getting Closer... T e great white is swimming in the direction of a small, rocky island. Seal Island is about 500 meters away. It’s named aſt er the large cape fur seal population that lives there. It can get very crowded during breeding season with some 64,000 seals. One of the seals must be injured. T e smell


of seal blood is getting stronger, and the great white can now hear seals in the water. T ere’s another way this shark knows that


the seals are there. He can feel them, even from this distance. Great white sharks have an elaborate sense of touch through what’s called a lateral line. T e lateral line is a system of tiny tubes.


T ey run under the shark’s skin on the sides of his body. T e tubes are full of hairlike nerve endings that send messages to his brain. T e tiny hairs are sensitive to vibrations


caused by movement or by sound in the water. Using this sense, he can detect movement in the water from as far as 250 meters away.


...And Closer He speeds up. Now he is close enough to see the seals. T is shark’s eyes are very sensitive. T e lenses in his eyes are up to seven times more powerful than the lenses in a human’s. His retinas are divided into two areas—one


adapted for day vision, the other for low light and night. On this cloudless day, he can easily spot seals in the water. One seal has a tiny cut on one of its fl ippers. T is shark has found what he was looking


for. Sharks are opportunistic eaters. T ey will hunt seals and sea lions, fish, squid, and even other sharks. Most great whites crave fatty blubber. A 270-kilogram seal could be as much as 50 percent fat, which makes a good meal. In a single year, this great white will eat about 11,000 kilograms of food. T e great white can see the seals, but they


can’t see him. From above, his dark back is almost invisible against the dark ocean bottom. From below, his white belly is equally camoufl aged against the light surface of the sky.


This great white bursts through the surface of the water as he tries to catch his prey.


6 NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC EXPLORER


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