Great White Makes Quick Work of Elephant Seal in Graphic Footage

Written by Sharon Parry
Published: July 23, 2022
© Alessandro De Maddalena/
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Continue Reading To See This Amazing Video

Great white sharks are the apex predators of the oceans and are magnificent creatures to observe close-up – if you dare! The 15-foot shark in this striking footage presents us with a masterclass in how to polish off your prey in a frenzy of feasting. It was taken around 10 miles off the Californian coast at San Clemente and has been cleverly edited with the theme tunes from the iconic Jaws movies to add to the tension.

We see this huge predator come into shot close to the boat and we get a clear view of this magnificent animal in the crystal clear waters. On show are its five gill slits and three main fins.

The onlookers are clearly in awe of its dorsal fin which is the classic sign that a shark is approaching. This is located on the shark’s back and when a shark is near the surface it is visible out of the water.

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A shark’s dorsal fin is not actually there to scare humans or look good in movies! It stabilizes the shark’s body and stops it from rolling onto its side. This keeps the great white upright in the water. It is also suspected that the dorsal fin creates an area of low water pressure which makes the shark’s movement through the water more efficient so that they use up less energy. The shark in this video certainly appears to glide effortlessly through the water.

This great white has used its large conical snout and excellent sense of smell to detect the body of a dead elephant seal – possibly from miles away! Now we get to the gory part of the video. The shark circles the large, dead elephant seal and without warning a feeding frenzy commences. The water around the seal turns to crimson from the blood and is churned up by the shark’s movements. The carcass is ripped apart as the shark swings it from side to side. Even though sharks often swallow their prey whole, this one seems to want to rip the seal into smaller pieces before it is consumed. The very large elephant seal would be too large for the shark to swallow in one gulp.

We also seem to be witnessing a game as the predator lets go of the seal and circles it before heading back towards it to rip off more chunks and release yet more blood into the sea. Right at the end of the video, we are treated to a superb shot of the shark opening its mouth wide to try to finish off the meal. No one can deny the power and ferocity of these magnificent monsters of the sea after watching this footage.

Are you as obsessed with great whites as we are? Check these out:

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Shark Eyelid - Great white with eyes rolled back while hunting
© Alessandro De Maddalena/

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About the Author

Sharon has a Ph.D. in Public Health but has spent the last decade researching and writing about all things connected with animal health and well being. As a life-long animal lover, she now shares her family home with three rabbits, a Syrian hamster, and a very energetic Cocker Spaniel but in the past she has also been a Mom to Guinea Pigs and several cats!She has a passion for researching accurate and credible information about pets and reviewing products that make pet owners' lives a bit easier. When she isn't checking out new pet products she's trekking around the Welsh mountains and beaches with her dog - although she lets her husband and her three grown up daughters tag along sometimes if they are lucky!

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