Something In The Ocean Is Eating Great White Sharks

Senior Contributor
06.06.14 74 Comments
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The Great White Shark is, to the minds of many, the ultimate predator. It eats beachgoers, flies through the air in sharknadoes, and is generally seen as the perfect eating machine. But for something else in the ocean, it’s just a snack.

Here’s what we know. “Shark Alpha”, a nine-foot-long female Great White, was tagged as part of a project to track shark migrations around the coast of Australia. All well and good, right? Well, four months later, her tag washes up on the beach.

Essentially, the tag (and the shark attached to it, presumably) rocketed down the side of the continental shelf. It swam, or was dragged, 1900 feet and the temperature went up thirty degrees around it. The ocean doesn’t usually have “warm pockets” at that depth, so about the only way to suddenly get that warm is to be jammed into something. Like, say, you get stuffed down its gullet and into its stomach.

The tag stayed in the digestive tract for eight days before being expelled to the surface. Which raises two questions: Just what the hell is capable of doing this, and why do things like this always happen in Australia?

We have no answer to the latter question, but the theory is that it’s the recently discovered giant squid, which turns out to be an aggressive feeder and is known to take on whales when it gets big enough. However, this is the first confirmation that they eat freaking Great White sharks, and happily linger 300 feet or so from the surface instead of staying in the crushing black depths where they damn well belong.

Basically, the moral of the story is that Australia is the source of all frightening monsters and you should never go there. Also, we need more movies about killer squid, because clearly sharks have been oversold as the sea’s worst menace. Maybe a Squidnado?

UPDATE: We now have an idea of what might have eaten the Great White.

Author Profile Picture
Dan Seitz is a grad student and freelance writer. He currently lives in Boston.

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