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What are great white sharks frightened of ?

Posted on Thursday, 18 April, 2019 | Comment icon 15 comments

Even the great white shark is scared of something. Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 Hermanus Backpackers
Despite their fearsome reputation, these monster sharks will always try to steer clear of one particular creature.
It's hard to imagine great white sharks being scared of anything at all, but according to a new study, these ferocious ocean-going predators will make a quick exit as soon as any orcas show up.

The discovery was made by researchers who had been investigating encounters between great white sharks, killer whales and elephant seals at Southeast Farallon Island off the coast of San Francisco.

"When confronted by orcas, great white sharks will immediately vacate their preferred hunting ground and will not return for up to a year," said lead author Salvador Jorgensen.

The findings were backed up by GPS data from tagged animals recorded between 2006 and 2013.

Surprisingly, it seemed that elephant seals had the most to gain from the sharks' departure with far fewer of them ending up as shark food once orcas had moved in to any given area.

"We don't typically think about how fear and risk aversion might play a role in shaping where large predators hunt and how that influences ocean ecosystems," said Jorgensen.

"It turns out these risk effects are very strong even for large predators like white sharks."

Source: | Comments (15)

Tags: Shark, Orca

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #6 Posted by Farmer77 on 18 April, 2019, 23:35
Actually based on radio tracking we kind of do. When killer whales kill a shark in an area great whites split, like dive deep and swim for thousands of miles split. 
Comment icon #7 Posted by Jaded1 on 18 April, 2019, 23:44
Great whites, whilst intimidating enough, are a far different proposition from a Megalodon. It's still conjecture on your behalf and always will be.  
Comment icon #8 Posted by Farmer77 on 18 April, 2019, 23:45
Megaladon? Where did that come from?
Comment icon #9 Posted by Jaded1 on 18 April, 2019, 23:50
If you actually read my first post... "Now if only Megalodon was still around". Is that too much to ask?  
Comment icon #10 Posted by OverSword on 19 April, 2019, 1:19
I recently watched a show about orcas and one researcher said that the two dominant animals in the pod he was studying brought a great white to the side of his research vessel to show off to the humans. It seems that orcas know a secret that humans have comparative recently discovered. You can flip a shark on its back and it becomes completely docile. One of the orca brought an inverted 15 foot Great White up to the surface next to the craft otherwise unharmed and held it in place while its partner savaged the shark. To bad there was no footage.
Comment icon #11 Posted by Myles on 19 April, 2019, 13:30   It's pretty cool, and scary, to see where sharks are currently.
Comment icon #12 Posted by Myles on 19 April, 2019, 13:32
Comment icon #13 Posted by pallidin on 19 April, 2019, 17:46
So, I have a question for those more knowledgeable than I: What IS the apex pedator of the ocean? Is it the "killer whale"?
Comment icon #14 Posted by oldrover on 19 April, 2019, 19:20
Yes it is. 
Comment icon #15 Posted by pallidin on 19 April, 2019, 19:22
Dang, I'll skip the orca as my next pet.

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