A 12-foot-5 white shark that goes by the name of Hilton was tracked early Monday off Hilton Head, South Carolina. That’s longer than a Fiat 500 subcompact car and nearly as long as a Honda Civic.
It appeared to be headed toward North Carolina waters.
Researchers with Ocearch say the 1,326-pound male pinged off the coast at 5:24 a.m.
The shark was first tagged 12 months ago off Hilton Head and it has since been tracked as far north as Nova Scotia and as far south as central Florida. It has traveled more than 8,227 miles in that time, Ocearch reports.
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Great white sharks are the largest predatory fish in the ocean, reaching lengths of 21 feet and weights of well over two tons, according to NC State. Great white sharks tagged off Cape Cod have been tracked to North Carolina waters, where they generally stay well offshore but occasionally venture close to the beach, experts say. They can occur year-round in North Carolina waters, but usually are seen during the winter and early spring. With their bright white bellies, large black eyes and triangular teeth, white sharks are easily distinguished from other local species, NC State reports.
Ocearch is a recognized world leader in generating scientific data related to tracking and biological studies of keystone marine species such as great white and tiger sharks, in conjunction with conservation outreach and education at a measurable global scale.
South Carolina made news last month for an even bigger great white tagged off Hilton Head: One that was 16-feet and 3,000 pounds.
It was caught in mid February by Charter Captain Chip Michalove of Outcast Sport Fishing. Michalove works with the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy in Chatham, Mass., where he’s teamed up with scientists to study the movement patterns of great white sharks. He placed an acoustic tag on the shark’s fin before releasing her into the ocean, so the scientists can track the apex predator as it moves through the ocean.