A Huge, Pregnant Great White Shark Has Been Filmed off the California Coast

A huge, pregnant great white shark has been filmed swimming off the California coast—an area the species is suspected to give birth.

The footage, captured by photographer Carlos Gauna and posted to his YouTube channel TheMalibuArtist, was filmed using a drone. In the footage, which can be seen here, the female shark can be seen swimming slowly in the shallows in Southern California, before disappearing into the depths.

Gauna, narrating the video, says there is a huge difference between this shark and the juvenile white sharks he is so used to filming in the area, as the females' girth is so wide. Gauna observes great white sharks often and in the video says this is probably the largest shark he has ever seen.

This was the largest shark Gauna has spotted

The mating habits of the great white shark remain largely a mystery; scientists know very little about how and where they mate, and where pups are raised. The mating techniques of the elusive species are not widely documented and a birth has never been witnessed.

For this reason, Gauna says this sighting was a "major victory" for him as an observer of the species.

"No matter how big the females get, they are hard to spot. When searching for them, I can see why. They are incredibly adept at hiding themselves mainly due to their coloration which makes them difficult to see from above and below," Gauna says.

"They're also known to retreat to very deep water where it's almost impossible to track. I was lucky on this day, be it just for a few minutes, before this giant disappeared to the depths below."

A large amount of juvenile white sharks have been seen swimming along the California coastline, indicating that they are birthed somewhere nearby. Great white sharks raise their young in "nursery areas," which are designated hotspots in shallow seas or protected bays, where pups live protected and away from predators until they can survive on their own.

Great white shark nursery areas are difficult for researchers to determine. For an area to be considered a nursery, pups must be seen there often, remain there for an extended period of time, and repeatedly use the area over several years.

In 2017, SFGATE reported that researchers at the California State Long Beach Shark Lab discovered several potential nursery areas along the coast.

They found that pups congregated in areas near Ventura, Oxnard, Santa Monica Bay, Huntington Beach and Dana Point in the summer months, around the time great white sharks are thought to give birth.

This pregnant shark sighting may support the theory that California is an integral area to the species and their lifecycle.

In 2021, researchers said that the great white shark population in California was increasing.

Oregon State University Professor Taylor Chapple told Eyewitness News that it is "real indicative" that the ecosystems off the California coasts are healthy and thriving.