This Massive Elephant Seal Chases off a Great White From Their Family

Written by Katie Melynn Wood
Published: December 14, 2022
Share on:

Great white sharks are some of the most fearsome ocean predators. They eat fish, marine mammals, and other ocean life. With sharp teeth, a big appetite, and powerful muscles that can propel their bodies out of the water after food, most animals know not to mess with these sharks.

In this video, a large elephant seal isn’t about to let a great white ruin his day. As the shark approaches a seal colony, the elephant seal gets in his face before he can snatch any of the vulnerable seals, such as the babies, sick, or injured.

great white shark

Great white sharks have a top swimming speed of 25mph, but they can accelerate up to 35mph in short bursts.

81,005 People Couldn't Ace This Quiz

Think You Can?

©Sergey Uryadnikov/

The shark begins by swimming toward the rocks where the seals are lounging. Male elephant seals are especially protective of their territory, getting into fights with other animals and other competing elephant seals over the best rocks for them to use. This is even more common during breeding seasons.

Shark vs. Seal

Nearby, a gigantic elephant seal sees the shark and makes a beeline for him. The shark notices the approaching elephant seal very quickly and turns sharply away. He swims back into the ocean. The elephant seal stays close to the rocks until he is sure that the shark is no longer a threat. Close to the surface, the elephant seal’s outline is easy to spot.

There are a lot of noises coming from the group of seals on the rocks. This is common during mating season and at other times of the year. Elephant seals spend most of their lives in the water. When they do come on land, it is often to breed and give birth. That makes this time one of the most dangerous to approach an elephant seal since they are super protective of their babies.

walrus vs elephant seal

Male elephant seals, known as bulls, can weigh up to two tons.


Elephant seals can grow up to 4,000 pounds or more. The guy in this video is certainly very large, even bigger than the great white shark that he chases away. Elephant seals sometimes prey on smaller sharks. It’s possible that the elephant seal considered making the shark into his own tasty meal.

Up Next

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Ramon Carretero/

Share on:
About the Author

Katie is a freelance writer and teaching artist specializing in home, lifestyle, and family topics. Her work has appeared in At Ease Magazine, PEOPLE, and The Spruce, among others. When she is not writing, Katie teaches creative writing with the Apex Arts Magnet Program in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. You can follow Katie @katiemelynnwriter.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.