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Great White Beaten by its Appetite

Jul 21, 2014 06:31 PM EDT
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Last week, a massive great white shark was found bead between Geraldton and Shark Bay, Western Australia with no visible wounds or infection on its body. Now, investigators are reporting an unusual cause of death, over eating.

According to the Australian Department of Fisheries, the 13-foot-long (4 meters) male shark - smaller than its female counterparts - was not injured or diseased. However, it did happen to have particularly beefy Australian sea lion lodged inside its throat.

"This could explain why the shark was exhibiting such unusual behavior in shallow waters off Coronation Beach. It is possible that the shark was trying to dislodge the blockage," Principal Research Scientist Rory McAuley said in a statement.

Two days before the shark's body was found, video footage was uploaded to YouTube showing a Great White thrashing in shallow water off Coronation beach in Gerldton, Australia.

"Oy! We're trying to take a photo!" one onlooker exclaimed as the shark's thrashing tail threw water in his general direction. "He's not very happy is he?"

Eventually the shark slipped back into deeper waters, but not it's clear that he never received the Heimlich maneuver he so desperately needed.

"Such a large object may have damaged the shark's internal organs or impeded water flow into his gills, contributing to his death," said McAuley. "Alternatively, the shark may have accidentally become stranded in his attempts to get rid of the obstruction."

Although the Department of Fisheries did not release the exact measurements of the sea lion, it is not hard to imagine that this shark simply bit off more than it could chew.

According to the Australian Department of Environment, adult male sea lions can grow up to 90 inches long and can weigh up to 550 pounds. Trying to shove all that down its gullet - great white sized appetite or not - certainly doesn't seem like the best of ideas.

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