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SharkCam Reveals First-Hand How Great White Sharks Attack [VIDEO]

Aug 06, 2014 12:11 PM EDT
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Paddle-boarders told to exit water as great white sharks swim nearby

If you've ever wondered what it's like to be hunted by a great white shark, this is for you. A "SharkCam" from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) meant to simply observe these fearsome predators was able to experience how great white sharks attack their prey right in the waters of Guadalupe Island on the West Coast of Mexico.

Researchers from WHOI's Ocean Systems Laboratory deployed the seven-foot-long REMUS SharkCam and captured the shark run-in October 2013, but just released the footage in time for it to be aired on Discovery Channel's famed Shark Week.

Using REMUS, which stands for Remote Environmental Monitoring Unit, scientists hoped to get a panoramic view of how these magnificent creatures lived in the wild. WHOI describes this technology on their website as an "autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) equipped with video cameras and navigational and scientific instrumentation that enable it to locate, track, and film up close a tagged marine animal, such as a North Atlantic white shark (great white)."

But in a turn of events, the hunter ended up becoming the hunted. What they ended up capturing was the first-hand experience of what it's like being stalked and hunted by the ocean's most feared predator. Over the course of the study, the camera was attacked by numerous individual great whites.

The footage revealed how these sharks utilized the clear waters to lurk beneath the camera, planning its attack, before propelling itself through the water, obscured by the dark depths from below.

"Sharks take advantage of the clear water to lurk in the darkness below the vehicle, then swim up suddenly and bite it on the tail or mid-section," the footage said. "This is the same way sharks hunt seals near Guadalupe Island."

This attack-from-below behavior is considered the explanation for why sharks are sometimes seen breaching, according to The Dodo. They often travel at speeds of roughly 25 mph when they hit their prey, and end up launching themselves completely clear of the water's surface.

Of course, once the sharks realized REMUS wasn't a tasty seal, they let go. But the SharkCam managed to survive these series of attacks and brought home an invaluable close-up look at great whites' strategy for hunting prey- with the bite marks to prove it.

[Credit: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution]

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