Watch a Leaping Seal Defy the Odds and Escape the Jaws of a Hungry Shark

Written by Sharon Parry
Updated: July 14, 2023
© Sergey Uryadnikov/
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Key Points:

  • When sharks propel themselves out of the water’s surface, it is referred to as breaching.
  • Various shark species, such as the great white, mako, thresher, and spinner sharks, are capable of breaching.
  • Sharks employ breaching not only as a hunting strategy, as observed in this context but also to rid themselves of parasites and to communicate.

This has to be the most aggressive synchronized swimming routine that’s ever been performed! As the video at the bottom of this page shows, both seals and sharks are capable of launching themselves a fair way out of the water when they really need to!

How Many Types of Seals Are There?

Are Seals Mammals
There are more than 30 species of seals


There are over 30 different species of seals occupying ocean habitats all over the world. The scientific name for them is Pinniped which means “fin-footed” in Latin. They can be divided into three broad families. The first is the Otariidae family which contains the eared seals such as sea lions. The next is the Phocidae family where the ‘true seals’ are found – their ears are located underneath their skin. Finally, the Odobenidae are the smallest family containing just the walrus.

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Which Animals Hunt Seals?

Seals are often hunted by Orcas and other predatory shark species.


Seals are highly nutritious prey for several other animals. This is partly because of their meat and partly because of their blubber. This layer of fat and a protein matrix of collagen fibers provides both insulation and buoyancy to the seals.

Their land predators include polar bears, arctic wolves, and humans. In the sea, they are hunted by orcas (members of the dolphin family) and predatory sharks.

How Do Sharks Hunt Seals?

Northern Elephant Seal bull, Mirounga angustirostris, California, USA
Seals are highly agile, and if a shark fails to kill them in the initial attack, the seal has a good chance of escaping.

©David Osborn/

Predatory sharks usually rely on stealth and ambush to hunt seals. They often stalk them from the depths – their coloring can make them hard to spot. However, many species of seals will fight back using their teeth and strong claws.

They may also stick together in groups or even leap in a zigzag pattern. Seals are generally incredibly agile and if the shark does not kill them in the first strike, the seal stands a good chance of getting away.

Which Sharks Breach the Water?

Breaching Shark.
Sharks leaping out of the water’s surface is known as breaching.


When sharks leap out of the surface of the water it is called breaching. Several shark species can do this including the great white, mako, thresher, and spinner sharks. As well as using breaching as a method of hunting as we see here, they also do it for removing parasites and communicating.

They start their assent from as much as 90 feet below the surface, accelerating sharply using their powerful tails so that they get maximum lift when they leave the water. This particular shark missed the seal but we don’t get to find out if it actually escaped!

See The Entire Video Below—Don’t Skip it!

Check it out:

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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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