WARNING: BELOW PHOTOS ARE OF GRAPHIC NATURE
Two great white sharks were recently captured on camera lunging at each other in an attack that was incredible to say the least.
The scenes air in National Geographic WILD’s new show Cannibal Sharks as apart of its annual Sharkfest which investigates rising reports of the apex predators preying on their own kind.
The footage is incredibly rare but professor Mark Meekan from the Australian Institute for Marine Science reveals that all sharks are cannibals — even great white sharks.
“It’s not just one rogue shark attacking other sharks or even one species of shark attacking other sharks, it’s lots of different sharks turning on each other.”
In another photo, a 12-foot long great white shark corpse is shown sliced in half by two major bites – removing most of the middle of the shark’s body.
Around Australia’s Gold Coast, more and more mutilated carcasses are being pulled out of the ocean — with some bitten so severely that the only the heads remain.
Professor Meekan has a theory about why this is happening and believes it has to do with measures to keep the hungry predators away from swimmers.
As part of the Gold Coast’s safety measures, nets as well as bated hook lines are deployed. But hooked sharks send out distress signals which are picked up by rival sharks who adore an easy meal.
After examining a photograph of a shark with two massive bites taken out of its center, Professor Meekan shared:
“This is an enormous shark. It’s 12-feet long but look at the size of that bite, it’s absolutely massive.”
“That’s an immense amount of power you need to take a bite out of another shark like that – you have to be pretty big yourself. If I was a betting man, I might even pick another great white shark for that one. These things are apex predators for good reason.”
New research reveals that sharks have been eating each other for millennia.
After an examination of fossilized feces was taken from prehistoric orthacanthus — or, a shark that swam the oceans 300m million years ago — it was found that it contained fossilized baby shark teeth.
Professor Meekan said:
“That shows that 300m years ago these were cannibal sharks. Shark on shark predation is a fundamental trait.”
When great white sharks are young, they feed on smaller prey like fish and rays — and as they grow bigger, they feed on marine mammals exclusively like sea lions, seals, small whales and on occasion, fellow great white sharks.
The great white shark is at the top of the food chain and has very few threats in the ocean.
Only orcas as well as larger sharks can pose a real threat — the only other risk to great white shark is human interaction surprisingly.
They are on occasion caught by accident in fishing nets or intentionally sough out by sport fisherman.
Great whites search for prey at the surface of the ocean while swimming below and once they spot a target, they use a burst of speed to bump their prey while biting it. And thanks to the several rows of teeth that number up into the thousands, a single large bite can be fatal.
It gives a whole new meaning to picking on someone your own size!
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