Rare footage shows killer whales eating shark for breakfast
I know a few people that are absolutely terrified of sharks, to the point that they're on the lookout every time they take a dip in some shallow water. To be fair though, it's not as if the rest of us aren't a little scared. If I saw a telltale dorsal fin sticking above the surface of the water I would be swimming away as fast as I could move with not a doubt in my mind.
Yet there's always a pecking order, even among predators as fearsome as the shark. It's not common for people to underestimate the power and brutality of killer whales since, well, it's in the name, but you may not think of them killing and eating sharks with little effort. It turns out that not only will they kill and eat sharks, but they will play with their food first.
Passengers on a whale watching cruise in Monterey Bay caught a glimpse of a group of orca whales, grouped around something, but they couldn't see quite what it was. Luckily for them, they had a Drone photographer on hand to get an aerial look at what was happening, capturing the whales dragging the body of a shark along on film.
According to Monterery County Weekly, videographer Slater Moore captured the shark getting dragged around among a pod of offshore killer whales, 16 miles from Monterey Harbor. Apparently, the group of whales was accompanied by two baby orca as they played with what appeared to be either a thresher shark or a sevengill shark.
Naturalist Katlyn Taylor, who works for Monterey Bay Whale Watch, told Monterey County Weekly that the vantage point is often an obstacle when seeing what the whales are feeding on, but this aerial view got around the problem.
"A lot of times when we see offshore killer whales it's hard to tell what they are eating. We hardly ever get footage to see what it actually is."
"They specialize in sharks, and probably some types of offshore fish. It's pretty lucky to see them."
It can be hard to pinpoint exactly what is happening sometimes, even in a video that is of such a high resolution like this, but you can still spot the helpless shark amidst the crowd of creatures. Dragged from side to side, but still alive and visibly trying to escape, what we consider to be one of the most fearsome animals on the planet is made to look insignificant by the orca.
Seeing them out in the wild, it's strange to think that these are the same mammals that are kept in captivity for entertainment purposes, such as in SeaWorld. But it looks like this aspect of the world is changing in some respects. If you want to read more about the state of SeaWorld, you should read our investigation 'Plummeting profits, poor attendance and worldwide disdain: Can SeaWorld shows ever make a comeback?'