Video Takes Viewers Inside the Jaws of a Great White Shark
Researchers from the Cape took a special underwater camera on an expedition last year. The rare footage will be aired during Shark Week.
During Shark Week, viewers will get an up-close look at what it’s like to be in the grips of a Great White’s jaws.
In 2013, researchers from Cape Cod’s Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution took a special underwater “SharkCam” out on the ocean just beyond Guadalupe Island in Mexico, to capture footage of Great Whites in their natural hunting habitat. But as soon as the custom-built deep-sea camera went beneath the surface, it quickly became prey for the sharks it was trying to track.
As explained in the video above, which was shot on a Remote Environmental Monitoring Unit (REMUS), designed by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution with five cameras attached, as the device moved in toward a group of sharks, they started becoming territorial and attacking the vessel as it motored through the waters.
“In what are most likely predatory attacks, sharks take advantage of the clear water to lurk in the darkness below the vehicle, then swim up suddenly and bite it on the tail or mid-section,” researchers explained.
This is the same exact manner in which the sharks hunt seals, they said. Researchers said while the REMUS, which is remote-controlled from on board a ship, survived the attacks, the damage done by the sharks’ gnashing teeth was worse than if someone were to sit down with a chisel and hammer to try to dent the autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV).
This specialized version of REMUS was built in the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s Oceanographic Systems Laboratory in 2011 and 2012, through a partnership with Massachusetts’ Senior Marine Fisheries Biologist Greg Skomal. The underwater AUV made its debut during last year’s Shark Week, where it traversed the waters off Cape Cod, but none of the footage came close to what was caught in Mexico.
The footage is just a taste of what will be aired on the this year’s Shark Week, which begins on August 10 on the Discovery Channel. The video will include an appearance by Skomal, who accompanied experts from the Woods Hole organization during the expedition.
Skomal and members of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution said they captured dozens of these interactions on camera, as the Great White continued to appear seemingly out of nowhere before chomping down on the device.
While the footage itself is mesmerizing, experts said it will help further their understanding of how sharks attack prey in the wild.