Predation is a brutal but essential part of nature. Carnivorous animals, like sharks, have evolved to kill other animals to survive. Even so, it can be quite alarming for us to watch. So, imagine how scared these seals must be watching one of their own species being ripped apart by a great white shark, right in front of them.
A Meal for a Shark
This startling footage was recorded just off the coast of New Brunswick in Canada. It shows one seal being attacked and eaten in the water whilst another three seals watch from a small rock. One of the seals seems to be paralyzed with fear and is looking at the water as if they are thinking that they will never go swimming again!
The other two, however, have decided to seize the moment. They can see that the shark is distracted for a moment as it eats their companion. So, they take the opportunity to leave the small rock and swim across to the mainland. Perhaps they know that the shark is capable of grabbing them off such a small rock. Or, they may sense that the tide is coming in and that it is only a matter of time before this ‘safe’ resting place disappears entirely! They also know that, when you are a seal, there is safety in numbers so they may be heading back to the larger group onshore. Whichever it is, they leave their lone companion behind to fend for themselves.
Seals Lifestyle and Predators
Seals are agile, aquatic animals that are found in oceans all over the world where they frequent coastal waters and prefer rocky shores. They are mammals (so they need to hold their breath when they dive) and live in groups – their main diet is fish. There are more than 30 different species of seals throughout the world but they all have streamlined bodies and paddle-shaped flippers and are very good at swimming. They also have a dense layer of blubber that keeps them warm but also makes them a very nutritious snack for sharks!
Seals are eaten by sharks, orcas and bears. Younger seals and adults on their own are the easiest targets for predators to pick off – often using a surprise ambush technique. By congregating in groups, seals can often put off a shark from attacking as all that hissing, chattering and the sharp teeth can be a bit intimidating – even to a shark.
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