Drone video captured the dramatic moment a loggerhead turtle got the better of an aggressive tiger shark off the coast of a remote beach in Western Australia.
Video recorded by professional drone operator Jack Garnett shows the turtle repeatedly use its shell to roll over the attacking tiger shark, in clear blue water near the Winderabandi coastline.
Garnett told Storyful he and his family were on their final day of a caravan holiday in the area and had encountered the same turtle several times while camping, even giving the animal a name.
“[My] three teenage kids during their daily snorkelling and stand up paddle boarding adventures had visited what appeared to be the same large loggerhead turtle and it was always a delight – the kids inventively naming it Mr Turtle,” Garnett said.
“On our last day at Winderabandi, the girls saw some unusual water splashes 50 metres off the shoreline and the drone was sent out to investigate. I initially told the kids to not watch the drone video link as it appeared that a large 3 metre tiger shark was in the process of eating poor Mr Turtle.
“Over the next 10 or so minutes, our family were truly amazed as we huddled around the screen enraptured by a great battle between Mr Turtle and the tiger shark.”
After evading multiple attacks, the loggerhead turtle managed to bite the shark’s tail causing it to swim away.
“A single mistake by Mr Turtle would have meant a lost limb or fatal bite. [It was] an amazing outcome to see him swimming smoothly and at max power along the shore at the end.
Garnett told Storyful that he has since shown the video to marine biologists who recognised the “known behaviour” and identified the turtle as a female loggerhead turtle by “the shape of its tail”. Academic research has indicated that female loggerheads’ speed and manoeuvrability offer a possible advantage when attacked by tiger sharks.
“They had never seen footage that captured it so clearly and usually the turtles don’t win. They said that turtles are colloquially called tiger shark “sea-biscuits” as they are a favoured meal of the apex predators.”
“My kids have also renamed the turtle, Mrs Turtle,” Garnett added.
To access the full extended video please contact Storyful. Credit: Jack Garnett via Storyful