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Predators Collide: Sealion Rips Out a Blue Shark's Throat on Camera
When sharks have nightmares, they dream of sealions.
Deserved or not, there is no oceanic creature more universally feared than the shark. A glimpse of their fins cutting above the water is enough to empty a beach, and seeing one up close might be the last thing you ever see. Yet even Jaws herself has to swim with one eye over her shoulder lest she meet a swift and brutal end.
Wildlife photographer @loriannah captured one such fatal encounter in the waters of California's Monterey Bay, when a blue shark found itself at the deadly end of a sealion.
Brutal Shark Death by Sealion Caught on Camera
It's unclear what pushed a blue shark and a sealion into a fatal war of gnashing teeth. We don't know because we don't get to see the beginning of their altercation, but we do see the end.
The short video clip posted to Instagram (content warning, the video shows the graphic and bloody death of a shark) begins with the shark and sealion rising from the water, locked in mortal combat. Normally, when we see a shark and a mammal on screen the scales are tipped in favor of the fish, but not this time.
The shark hangs stiffly from the jaws of the sealion as they rise from the water. Then the sealion whips its head rapidly around, flinging the body of the shark with tremendous force while maintaining its grip on the shark's neck.
The result is the violent separation of the shark's throat from the rest of its body, accompanied by a spray of blood. Sharks are certainly not to be trifled with, but sealions are clearly formidable in their own right. They grow as long as 7.5 feet in length and males get as heavy as 700 pounds.
They feed off the coast and generally stick to smaller prey like squid, anchovies, mackerel, sardines, and other small fish. Clearly, they're happy to take a bite out of rarer and more dangerous fare when the opportunity presents itself. Lest there be any question that the sealion deserves its name, this one makes it clear that they are indeed the kings of the ocean.
If only Quint, Brody, and Hooper had a sealion at their disposal. Catch Jaws, available from Universal Pictures.