“Sharks are not always the biggest fish in the pond.”
As far as size goes, sharks are definitely the largest fish. With whale sharks growing to over 15 meters, basking sharks growing up to 10 meters, and the Greenland shark and great white grow larger than 6. But that doesn’t mean they are necessarily on top of the food chain. Even the largest sharks have natural predators preying on them.
Large killer whales, which are seemingly harmless to humans, have repeatedly been found to prey on large great white sharks. And so have elephant seals, large sharks on other smaller sharks, and sharks on rays.
The most recent example comes from the shores of South Africa, where a number of white sharks have been washing up dead. Researchers found out that the local killer whales where predating the sharks specifically for their fatty-rich livers. They would eat out the liver and leave the rest of the shark for the sea scavengers. And in Southern California, whale watchers have photographed sea lions preying on thresher sharks.
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By Linda Planthof