Watch: Seal Escapes Jaws of Great White

posted: 08/19/15
by: Jennifer Viegas for Discovery News
Seal escapes shark
Atlantic White Shark Conservancy via YouTube

Video shot earlier this week by the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy shows a great white chasing a seal, with both leaping out of the water during the life-or-death chase.

As the video, captured off Monomoy, Cape Cod, Mass., reveals, the seal manages to escape the jaws of death by contorting its body.

"We had never seen a breach out of water before," AWSC President Cynthia Wigren told ABC News. "It was pretty incredible to see."

Both coasts are experiencing an uptick in great white numbers now. The reasons are three-fold, according to experts:

Warm water: Great whites are sensitive to ocean temperatures and can often be seen in warmer waters. On the West Coast, for example, ocean temps have hit 63+ degrees in recent days, even 17 miles off of San Francisco.

Food availability: Krill, anchovies, and larger fish have been plentiful along the coasts this year, bringing both seals and sharks in for the feast. If the choice is between a small fish and a moist and meaty seal, however, the AWSC video shows what the shark will go after.

Rebounding great white population: The great white shark population has been slightly increasing in recent years. As George Burgess, director of the Florida Program for Shark Research, informed Discovery News, "After a decline of up to 90 percent for some species in the United States, they are beginning a gradual rise toward the numbers of a century ago. That suggests some of the damage we've done to the oceans has been reversed, and that's something to celebrate."

The uptick has affected Cape Cod's beaches, which were closed last week after beachgoers spotted a great white biting into a seal and then spitting its bloody victim onto a beach, where it later perished.

Despite all of these shark fails, the great white shown in the video managed to have a decent day. Wigren said that after the earlier missed opportunity, it successfully hunted down another seal underwater.

This post originally appeared on Discovery News

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