The excited voice in the background says it all. This video is both thrilling and intriguing. Have you ever seen sharks fly?
You see them rocket from the depths, twirling and flipping mid-air. The ferocity and momentum of the ascent are both compelling and scary. Should we, the land-bound, be fearful?
As if sharks were not terrifying enough for the average swimmer, diver, and surfer, these flying sharks are sure to evoke a new sense of fascinating dread.
These sizeable sharks are not becoming airborne as an evolutionary adaptation to retrieve flying creatures in the air or to spot hapless swimmers near the shore. Rather, they are breaching, much the same way that whales do, as part of their hunting behavior.
Sharks usually display their amazing abilities when hunting for seals. As they approach the prey, they open their sawed jaws and clamp down on the seal with enormous force as they both come flying out of the ocean.
Interestingly, the breaching behavior can be seen among many sharks dwelling in and around False Bay. We are not sure if this video was taken by tourists, but there are numerous tours where people witness the ferocious beasts leaping out of the water even in the presence of no prey. Their motivation remains unknown, but it is believed to be a form of playfulness.
Indeed, the very fact that this particular population of Great White Sharks have learned this behavior from one another indicates a level of intelligence not previously thought to belong to sharks.
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