A scientist has captured gory footage of a shark on the hunt for prey despite missing a significant chunk of its body. The missing hunk was eaten in an act of shark-on-shark cannibalism, according to the scientist, who saw it firsthand.
“Sharks eat sharks, that is well known, but it is super difficult to film and document,” Dr. Mario Lebrato, 35, told the Sun.
The incident unfolded in front of Lebrato and his team off the coast of Spain after they released an oceanic blacktip shark back into the sea. Shortly after freeing the creature, a group of fellow predators — including bull sharks — descended upon it.
The gang of underwater carnivores brutally attacked the blacktip, ripping away a massive chunk of its side. Yet, despite missing a large portion of itself, the blacktip continued swimming about in front of Lebrato and his team for 20 minutes. It then died from its injuries.
Some scientists believe that shark-on-shark attacks are increasing as a result of the killers being distressed from nets and baited hook lines deployed by humans to keep people safe from attacks. Once hooked, sharks send out distress signals, making them easy targets for hungry, healthy sharks, according to the Australian Institute of Marine Science’s Professor Mark Meekan.
“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,” Meekan said of the nature of shark attacks, pointing to 2019 photos of a fight between Great White sharks.
Humans are by no means the only reason sharks fight each other, though — the trait is evolutionarily ingrained in them.
“Shark-on-shark predation is a fundamental trait,” Meekan said. “Three-hundred million years ago these were cannibal sharks.”