A 12-foot long great white shark is nearly sliced in half after fighting with another great white in gruesome scenes from a new documentary.
It also has deep wounds and scratches along the bottom half of its body.
The film investigates rising reports of sharks preying on their own kind, and includes shocking footage of two great whites battling in the ocean around Australia’s Gold Coast.
Viewers will also be shown a photograph of a great white shark corpse with two huge, gaping bites in its side, removing most of the middle of its body.
The documentary reveals that some of the shark corpses fished out of the ocean are so mutilated that only their heads remain.
Professor Mark Meekan, from the Australian Institute for Marine Science, says of the hacked shark corpse: ‘This is an enormous shark. It’s 12-feet long but look at the size of that bite, it’s absolutely massive.
‘That’s an immense amount of power you need to take a bite out of another shark like that – you have to be pretty big yourself.
‘If I was a betting man, I might even pick another great white shark for that one. These things are apex predators for good reason.’
Professor Meekan reveals that all sharks are cannibals, and has a theory about what’s happening in Australia.
He believes it is to do with safety measures taken by the Gold Coast to keep ravenous predators away from swimmers. Nets and hook lines are deployed, but a shark caught in a net sends out distress signals which are then picked up by other sharks who fancy an easy meal.
In another clip from the National Geographic programme Cannibal Sharks, which will form part of their Sharkfest series this summer, it is revealed that shark cannibalism begins in the womb.
Female sand tiger sharks have two wombs and often conceives six or seven embryos in each womb at once, often sired by different fathers, but they only give birth to two shark pups.
While scientists were previously baffled, new technology has revealed that as soon as the oldest embryo develops eyes and teeth, it hunts and kills its siblings in the womb.
The sand tiger shark’s taste for its own kind continues throughout its life.
Shark expert Doctor Yannis Papastamatiou, who leads the Predator Ecology and Conservation Lab at Florida International University, tells the show that sharks are pretty stone cold about eating each other: ‘They just hunt, it’s a prey source, they’re just food.
‘They’re much simpler than mammals which have much more complex reasons for killing each other. It’s very common.’
Cannibal Sharks airs 15 July at 8pm on National Geographic WILD.
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