A shark attack captured on video has provided researchers with “a rarely seen window into the world of the Atlantic white shark.”
The “graphic” footage, shot by shark researchers on Aug. 2, depicts an attack on a seal 100 feet off a Massachusetts beach.
Other seal attacks have been reported in recent weeks off Cape Cod, but this video marks the first time researchers caught the exact moment, said the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy.
“Coming at us,” warns a member of the ship’s crew in the video. “Look at his head! He’s got something in his mouth! He’s got a seal.”
The footage includes the head of the thrashing shark breaching the surface for a split second, and shaking a seal in its mouth. An explosion of red follows as the shark drags the seal back below the surface.
The video, which replays the moment in slow motion, has been viewed 45,000 times since it was posted Wednesday on Facebook by the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, a nonprofit shark research organization.
It was filmed off Wellfleet, Massachusetts, as a researcher was attempting to tag the feeding shark with a tracker. The shark escaped without being tagged, officials said.
“We’ve never witnessed a feeding shark drop a seal ... with the boat nearby,” conservancy officials posted in response to questions from other Facebook users about the video.
The video was posted just days after the conservancy recorded footage of a great white shark jumping out of the water and snapping its jaws at the feet of marine biologist Greg Skomal, while he was trying to tag another shark off Wellfleet. That was also a first for the researchers, officials said.
The great white shark is “the ocean’s most iconic and feared fish” according to National Geographic, but also one of its most mysterious.
“We know little about it — and much of what we think we know simply isn’t true,” says National Geographic. “... Great whites appear and disappear at will, making it nearly impossible to follow them in deep water.”
Nine great white sharks have been tagged this season by the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, some as big as 12 feet long, officials said on Facebook.