3 min read

If You've Ever Wondered What Sharks Look Like While Hunting Prey, You're In Luck

<p>Vimeo: Woods Hole Oceanic Institution</p>

In 2013, a team from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution set out to get a closer look at the great white sharks which inhabited the waters off of Guadalupe Island, in Mexico. Using a REMUS "SharkCam," the researchers =hoped to get a panoramic view of how these magnificent creatures lived in the wild. What they ended up capturing, however, was the experience of being hunted by great white sharks from a first-person perspective.

After the researchers lowered the REMUS into the water and set it on its way, the sharks proved to be more interested in the camera than anticipated. Over the course of the study, the camera was attacked numerous times by individual sharks.

The footage revealed how the great whites utilized the clear waters to lurk beneath the camera as it propelled through the water, obscuring themselves in the darkness of the depths below. When a shark found the right moment, they would jettison upward at an impressive speed, grab ahold of the REMUS as if it were a seal, and jerk their head back and forth to saw into the (nonexistent) flesh with their teeth.

The shark would then realize after the initial attack that the REMUS was not, in fact, a tasty seal, and swim away.

This attack-from-below behavior is why there is considerable footage of great whites breaching: they are often traveling at speeds of roughly 25 mph when they hit their prey, and end up launching themselves completely clear of the water's surface.

Researchers were stunned at this unexpected result in their study, but found the footage was an invaluable close-up look at how great white sharks behave as predators in the wild, highlighting the strategies the sharks use to hunt their prey.

Watch the entirety of WHOI's video on the remarkable predators below: