Sunday the 7th February 2021 may have been a day that two US surfers would never forget for all the wrong reasons. But thanks to this drone operator, they were warned that a shark was very close to them, just beyond the breakwater, and they very sensibly chose to leave the water. What’s more, we get to see the whole thing thanks to the amazing footage captured by the drone.
Sharks Near the Shore
This shark was about 500 feet away from the shore. It was swimming in a zigzag manner, heading into shore and then swimming back out. When sharks do this, they can end up interacting with humans who are also present in the greatest numbers close to the shoreline.
As we get a close-up view, we can see what looks like the distinctive dorsal fin of a great white shark. At this point, the shark swiftly turns and starts heading directly for the surfers. The drone operator makes the decision to inform them and they calmly leave the water, by which time the shark is alarmingly close to them. It appears to halt and watch the surfing as they leave the sea. With the surfers out of the water, it turns and swims away from the shore.
Sharks Feeding Near Beaches
Great whites like to feed in temperate and tropical coastal waters all over the world including parts of the US. Half of all human shark attacks are carried out by great whites earning them the reputation of being maneaters.
Their usual prey is actually marine mammals so they are constantly on the lookout for dolphins, porpoises, seals, and sea lions. They will also eat small whales. Prey is detected using smell rather than by sight and they can also detect vibrations in the water. This is probably why they are drawn to surfers and swimmers splashing around in the water. They have explosive speed and take their prey (and humans) by surprise.
The attack plan is usually to hit the prey and mortally wound it before leaving it to weaken. The shark returns to eat it once the animal is too weak to put up much resistance. Although they are classed as solitary animals, you sometimes see great whites hunting in pairs or small groups especially when a large prey is potentially available!
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