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Nature & Environment

What are great white sharks frightened of ?

By T.K. Randall
April 18, 2019 · Comment icon 19 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 (19)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #10 Posted by pallidin 5 years ago
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 #11 Posted by oldrover 5 years ago
Yes it is. 
Comment icon #12 Posted by pallidin 5 years ago
Dang, I'll skip the orca as my next pet.
Comment icon #13 Posted by Kittens Are Jerks 4 years ago
  The killer whale has unseated the great white shark as the ocean's most feared predator, study finds For years, the great white shark has been believed to be the ocean’s most feared predator. But when five shark carcasses washed ashore on a beach in South Africa’s Western Cape province in 2017, livers chomped from their bodies, a new question loomed in marine researcher’s minds —  could the predator be prey?
Comment icon #14 Posted by Rolltide 4 years ago
Comment icon #15 Posted by HandsomeGorilla 4 years ago
Everything in the ocean is and should be afraid of killer whales. They almost p*** me off with how ruthless they are lol
Comment icon #16 Posted by khol 4 years ago
Its about respecting them for what they are...same with Great Whites
Comment icon #17 Posted by preacherman76 4 years ago
Such complicated creatures. Beautiful, intelligent, caring, yet ruthless killers all at the same time. 
Comment icon #18 Posted by khol 4 years ago
Sounds like your talking about human beings which are far more barbaric then any cetacean
Comment icon #19 Posted by preacherman76 4 years ago
Yes very similar. Maybe that’s why they are so intriguing. 

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