Skip to main content - The Animal Encyclopedia for Kids



Megalodon Facts

Size 42-60 feet (13-18 meters)
Speed Unknown
Weight 12-60 tons
Lifespan Unknown
Food Large marine animals
Predators -
Habitat Warm oceans
Order Lamniformes
Family Lamnidae
Scientific name Carcharocles megalodon
Characteristics Giant mouth, 5-7 inches (12-18 cm) teeth

Main Characteristics

The megalodon is a prehistoric shark that died out 3.6 million years ago.

Megalodon Megalodon - Photo: Herschel Hoffmeyer/Shutterstock


Where Does the Name Megalodon Come From?

Megalodon comes from the Greek “mega” for “big” and “odon” for “tooth”.


Anatomy and Appearance

Megalodon Teeth

Megalodon teeth were incredibly long. The measuerd 5-7 inches (12-18 cm) in length, which is about the size of a human hand. The teeth were heart-shaped and serrated. Researchers believe that it had a total of 267 teeth in its mouth, divided over several layers. Luckily, animals rarely need to see a dentist.

Megalodon's Jaw

Do you know the Smart car? It’s an extremely compact city car that fits into even the smallest parking spaces. A megalodon’s jaw was slightly bigger than this car: 9.8 feet (3 meters) wide and 8.2 feet (2.5 meters) high!

Megalodon Megalodon - Photo: Michael Rosskothen/Shutterstock


What Did the Megalodon Eat?

Researchers believe that the megalodon ate more than 2,200 pounds (1,000 kg) of food each day. The menu mostly consisted of small and large whales e.g. dolphins, sperm whales, bowhead whales, rorquals and porpoises as well as seals and manatees.

After the last Ice Age, the seas cooled considerably. This made life hard for the megalodon, as it needed warm water to survive. At the same time, the marine animals that survived the Ice Age were mostly fast swimmers that the megalodon struggled to catch. Another reason was probably that its prey moved to the fish-rich but even colder polar regions. The megalodon was unable to follow them and starved.


Megalodon Megalodon - Photo: W. Scott McGill/Shutterstock

Senses and Abilities

Megalodon's Bite Force

In 2008, a research team from Australia and the USA tried to work out the megalodon’s bite force. They created a computer simulation to work it out. The results were impressive. The megalodon’s bite force must have been ten times stronger than that of the great white shark. This means that megalodons had the strongest bite of any animal that has ever lived.

Megalodon's Hunting Technique

Although researchers believe that the great white shark is related to the megalodon, the megalodon probably had a different hunting technique. Great whites aim for their prey’s soft flesh e.g. the belly. The megalodon was probably able to bite through cartilage and bone so concentrated on making its prey unable to swim away.

Megalodon Megalodon - Photo: MarcelClemens/Shutterstock

Worth Knowing

Reality vs. Made-up Stories

There are a few films and books that feature the megalodon. Mostly as a terrifying monster. Some websites even claim to have “evidence” that the megalodon is still alive, tearing around the ocean. But these are photos and videos that have been edited using computer programs to cause a sensation.

From here you find infos written by animalfunfacts fan Vitalij!

Author VitalijWhy Did They Go Extinct?

Climate change was one of the many reasons that the megalodon died out.

Help! A Megalodon!

The megalodon’s teeth were 4.7-7 inches (12-18 cm) long. That’s about as big as a human hand. Take a ruler, measure that length and hold it against your hand.

From Young Animal to Hunter

Researchers believe that a newborn megalodon was almost 13 feet (4 meters) long. Grown animals are believed to have been up to 100 feet (30 meters) long. As a comparison: swimming pools are usually 82 feet (25 meters) long. Next time you go to the pool, look at the length from the side! Pretty huge, right? In the meantime, scientists have found out that the megalodon may have been “just” 60 feet (18 meters) long.

The facts above were submitted by fan Vitalij. Thank you! Do you want to write a fan factsheet?


Most Read Fish Fact Sheets

See all topics on