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Here’s Why You Won’t See A Great White Shark Living In An Aquarium

By Karly Carpena
August 18, 2016

Remember the last time you went to the aquarium? Think about it, you stared into the glass water tank gazing at massive manta rays, fish, and even giant whale sharks! Yet, you never probably realized that there were no Great White Sharks in the aquarium.


A quick Google search proves that these predators cannot live in captivity for long periods of time. According to Vox, SeaWorld held the record for the longest time a great white survived in captivity – only 16 days! The shark would ram itself into the glass enclosures and refuse to eat. In order to survive, great whites need a lot of space to freely move around and have water continuously flowing through their gills in order to breathe.

But the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California found a way to capture a great white and care for it for a total of six months. The aquarium captured a baby Great White and built a specialized transportation container for the shark that pumped IV fluids to the fish so it could stay alive during the long journey.


Once at the aquarium, the baby shark was fed tiny fish to survive. Things seemed to be going well until about six months of growing in captivity, the shark began to eat other sharks in the exhibit, forcing the aquarium staff to move the shark back into the wild.


The mystery as to why Great White sharks cannot live in captivity for more than 6 months has yet to be solved. Some scientists believe that these sharks are smart enough to try and commit suicide.