Scientists catch great white shark - then another 12ft great white attacks it

(Picture Virginia Institute of Marine Science)
(Picture Virginia Institute of Marine Science)

Scientists could not believe their eyes when they caught a small great white – then another, much larger, shark lunged out of the water to take a bite in a cannibal attack.

The researchers from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science’s Shark Survey had only caught five great white sharks in 45 years – so even the first was a surprise.

VIMS graduate student Kaitlyn O’Brien said, ‘I didn’t believe him at first and I had to lean over the rail to see it myself.’

But a day later on Friday, another 12ft great white popped up.

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O’Brien said, ‘When the second one came up, we noticed that lines were all tangled. Keith [marine engineer Keith Mayer] yelled ‘Something big down there’s messing it up,’ and when we saw the head, it was huge compared to the first one.

‘We were all kind of in shock – it was once in a lifetime.’

Begun in 1973, the VIMS Shark Survey now stands as the one of the longest-running studies of shark populations in the world.