Saturday, October 5, 2013

Video: Tiger Shark Eats Sea Turtle at Great Barrier Reef

One of the tiger shark's favorite foods is the sea turtle and they have adapted an efficient yet ruthless method for consuming the hard shell delicacy.

The tiger sharks will systematically bite off each flipper thus rendering the turtle immobile and helpless.  At this point, the shark can consume the remaining core by using it's heavy jaws and serrated teeth to tear through the hard shell.

Although both green sea turtles and loggerheads are on the tiger shark's diet, tiger sharks tend to consume five times the number of loggerheads then the greens.  In attempting to learn why, researchers have discovered that green turtles spend much less time breathing at the surface compared to loggerheads which will often linger on the surface for extended periods. Sea turtles are most vulnerable to tiger shark attacks while on the surface.

In addition, greens are faster and quicker than the loggerhead thus making them a more challenging target.

In this video from the Great Barrier Reef in Australia it does not state what type of turtle is being consumed but from the best we can tell, it looks to be a green turtle based on the smooth shell as visible in the still photos at the end of the video.

The video was posted on Vimeo by Julia Sumerling and is 2:10 in length.  Julia gives credit to Gunda Streckenbach & Steve Eckrich for their photographs and she also extends a special thanks to Mike Ball Dive Expeditions.
NOTE: Here is an earlier video showing another tiger shark consuming a sea turtle.
Photos are screenshots.