Watch Three Yellowtails Rub themselves On a Shark

Written by Jeremiah Wright
Published: November 23, 2022
© Tomas Kotouc/
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Continue Reading To See This Amazing Video

For Southern California locals, it’s not uncommon to see sharks on the coasts, mainly because it’s their natural habitat. In fact, California is the third state in the United States with the most shark attacks. Yet seeing three yellowtails rub themselves on a shark is less common!

In this video, a juvenile white shark can be seen swimming near the surface, and behind it are three yellowtails. You can observe the shark being closely followed by the yellowtails. At first glance, the yellowtails may appear to be attacking the white shark. However, the most amazing thing happens next.

The presence of sharks is usually depicted as dangerous for humans and animals. However, this scene is different. Three yellowtails are using a shark to get a body scrub! All three yellowtails follow the white shark, trying to rub themselves on its skin. 

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Front shot of great white shark on white background
Getting a body scrub from this predator does not sound like an ideal spa day!

© kart

Getting a body scrub from a predator is not one’s ideal spa day. These three yellowtails still need to be cautious and alert, ready to leave once the shark decides spa day is over. In the video, we can spot the moment the three yellowtails flee from the shark, just a split second before the predator whips its tail.

The video then cuts to the next scene—the shark is investigating and swimming dangerously close to paddleboarders. Luckily, the shark has no plans to attack. It is simply sizing itself against the paddleboard. Paddleboarders should always try to stay close to each other to make themselves appear bigger and discourage sharks from attacking.

The video demonstrates the surprising symbiotic relationship between sharks and other smaller fishes, mainly yellowtail fishes. What a fantastic display of nature!

What Is Shark Chafing?

What Do Great White Sharks Eat?
Shark chafing is an incident in which marine prey, such as smaller fishes, actively seeks out a shark to rub against them.


Even sharks are known to demonstrate chafing against sand or rocks. However, shark chafing is an incident in which marine prey, such as smaller fishes, actively seek out sharks to rub against them.

Experts suggest several reasons for the new role of sharks as exfoliators for marine species. Chafing against sharks can help remove parasites and bacteria that live on smaller fish’s bodies because sharks have rough skin called placoid scales or dermal denticles.

Another possible reason is that rubbing against the sharks’ rough skin may give other fishes some pleasure. It’s similar to terrestrial animals who love to rub their bodies against rough objects to relieve an itch.

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Great White Shark
The Great White Shark is one of the stars of Shark Week 2023 airing July 11 - 18.
© Tomas Kotouc/

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About the Author

I hold seven years of professional experience in the content world, focusing on nature, and wildlife. Asides from writing, I enjoy surfing the internet and listening to music.

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