When I was just 11 years old, I saw the movie Jaws. This is because I had totally clueless parents. I had Jaws related nightmares well into my teen years. But on the positive side, it got me really interested in Great White sharks. It seems that every month or so, I go on a reading binge about these creatures. They are amazing!
Some time ago, I learned about Great Whites getting attacked by Orca. That, of course, made me love them even more. In fact, there is a famous case of a whale grabbing a very large Great White and holding it upside down in the water, making it drown. Then it and its companion ate the shark. Most interesting though, this caused the entire Great White population there to abruptly leave.
I really like this story because I’m very interested in and sympathetic toward losers. Being eaten by a shark is normal for a seal. But Great Whites are apex predators. This sort of thing is not supposed to happen to them. What’s more, it shows that the sharks are not the stupid killing machines that they are made out to be. Going along with this is the ways that Great Whites hunt different prey in different ways. In False Bay, South Africa, they hunt exclusively in the mornings when visibility is poor. In general, they ambush smaller seals and then hold them under water until they’re drowned. But for elephant seals, because they are potentially very dangerous, the sharks bite them and retreat, waiting for the seals to bleed to death.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about the Great Whites is that they really don’t seem to like eating humans. Most attacks from Great Whites are not fatal. Now some claim the reason for this is just that humans are usually in groups and so can help the person attacked. But given the way they attack similar sized animals, it seems that most Great White attacks on humans are simply “test-bites.” What’s more, a diet of humans would probably kill the shark. We have far too much bone and far too little fat for them to properly digest. Most attacks seem to be mistakes: people on surfboards look a lot like seals from below.
My general thinking is that I don’t mind an animal that will kill and eat me given half a chance. As long as they are as wonderfully complex as Great White sharks, I find them fascinating. Just as interesting are Hammerhead sharks. The problem is that, even though there is no recorded fatal attack of a Hammerhead on a human, they totally freak me out. I don’t like looking at pictures of them. But if I could find a website with information about them that had no pictures, I’d be totally on it. Of course they aren’t as cool as Great Whites. I mean Jaws, right?