Meet Hilton, the world's most famous Great White shark...and he's just been spotted off the Florida coast

Hilton the shark is believed to be about 12 and a half feet long and is around 10 years old in the mature stage of life.


                            Meet Hilton, the world's most famous Great White shark...and he's just been spotted off the Florida coast
(Source: Getty Images)

A 12-foot long great white shark has been spotted off the coast of Florida and experts are claiming that it appears to be heading further south.

In the early hours of Thursday morning, the discovery was made using satellite trackers.

OCEARCH has been tracking several of these mammoth fish, one of them being the great white shark, nicknamed Hilton.

Back in December, the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries' Greg Skomal and Chip Michalove of Outcast Sport Fishing in Hilton Head tagged Hilton for research purposes.

When a tagged shark's fin breaks the surface of the water, it transmits a signal to an overhead satellite which uses the pings that are registered at the event.

Hilton, who was caught and released by Outcast Sport Fishing on Thursday, is believed to be around 10 years old.

Hilton has been scaling the Wilmington, North Carolina coast for a month now.

The giant was first spotted off Myrtle Beach, South Carolina in February. There was a second sighting of Hilton just off the coast of Carolina Beach on April 1.

According to the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, great white sharks are mostly "misrepresented and misunderstood" in pop culture and media. The organization, however, is trying to promote education and research into the lives of these predators. 

The Great White Shark, weighing in at 1,326 pounds, is a Twitter celebrity with more than 22,000 followers.

"Since then he's made his way toward the Florida panhandle, a famous fishing ground for sport fishermen. No doubt Hilton's doing a little fishing of his own, chowing down on the many fish of the canyon and shelf region there," Dr. Robert Hueter, OCEARCH chief science advisor, and Mote marine laboratory senior scientist said in an online statement.

OCEARCH said that Hilton's last "ping" was recorded on Friday at 11:49 a.m. It has traveled nearly 80 miles in the past 24 hours and a total of 10,029 miles since his first tag.

"After spending last spring near the shelf and canyons off North Carolina, Hilton is spending this spring further south, along the Florida Escarpment and DeSoto Canyon in the Gulf," Dr. Bryan Franks of Jacksonville University explained, according to an OCEARCH Facebook post. "The common factor: those interesting bottom features that likely hold a nice buffet of food and a range of water temperatures."

Hilton's sighting engaged many of his Twitter followers across the planet.

"Maybe he's headed to Mexico for Cinco de Mayo!" one Facebook user wrote.

"Hilton, what are you doing way over there in the gulf? How did you travel across land in Florida? Inquiring minds want to know! Come back to South Carolina. We miss you!" another wrote.

"Looks like he took a side trip to Disneyworld! Hope Ariel is safe!" one user joked.

On Friday, Hilton greeted his fans on Twitter:

"Hello, Florida! Anyone know where I can find some fish?" the shark's account tweeted.

National Geographic stated that Great Whites are the largest of predatory fish on Earth's oceans. They are known to grow to an average of 15 feet, but there have been records of some of them who are longer than 20 feet and who weigh more than 5000 pounds.

They have up to 300 serrated teeth arranged in several rows, enabling them to prey the biggest sea animals.