It is no longer shallow knowledge that sharks are one of the most fearsome predators in the ocean, thus, curiosity may drive you to think they are not afraid of anything. Of course, you’d never want to run into a shark while swimming in a beach, though, shark attacks are relatively rare. But, what could it be that sharks are afraid of?
These predators are afraid of something, for example; white sharks are afraid of orcas, sharks are afraid of dolphins. Humans can also pose threats for sharks too. It is natural that sharks are afraid of things that can cause harm to them. They try to stay away from these creatures. However, when escaping is not an option, sharks tend to attack anything that persistently threatens them.
That sharks are afraid of anything may come as a surprise. Well, it is understandable since they are the fearful ones.
Sharks pose six exceptional senses. These include smell, hearing, touch, taste, sight, and electromagnetism. These exquisite senses coupled alongside a fine, sleek, cylindrical shaped body, makes shark the most highly skilled hunters in the ocean. They are top predators and always keeping the population of prey in check. Also, they are very important in keeping the balance of the entire ecosystem.
Let’s see the interaction between various sharks and what they are afraid of.
White Sharks and Orca Whales
Sharks have existed for millions of years and have a great reputation as the apex predators mastering their skills to become the ultimate ocean killers. However, according to researchers’ effort, it is revealed that sharks have something that strikes fear in their hearts: An Orca. As a matter of fact, the sharks tracked by the scientists do not only abandon area occupied by orcas, they also refuse to return to these areas.
Why do sharks flee from areas occupied by orcas?
The main reason is to avoid confrontation with the specie they fear. The orca whale also has other names such as the killer whale or blackfish. It is a stone-cold predator that in fact, can send the world most feared sharks into hiding.
Orcas mostly intimidate sharks with their enormous size. While the length of a white shark can be up to 20 feet long and weigh about 4 tons. They can swim up to 35 miles per hour using their superior sense of smell to hunt prey from up to 2 miles away.
The shark’s mouth has 300 rows of saw-like and self-replacing teeth. When hunting, they like to position themselves below their prey, then rocket towards the surface to bite down their prey. White whales can jump up to 10 feet out of the water, before going below the waves with their catch.
The orca whales are bigger, they are almost 32 feet and weighing up to 6 tons and can swim as fast as the white sharks. The orca whale also hunts in herds of about 40 individuals, amidst a group of whales, otters, seals, and penguins. According to Sea World, whales are said to prey on more than 140 species of animals around the world including land base animals such as moose.
Where Do Orcas and White Sharks Meet?
The white sharks enjoy dining on elephant seals. Turns out orca whales enjoy the same delicacy too. Whenever the two predators find themselves in the same area to hunt elephant seals. The white sharks swim away and never return until the next hunting season.
The encounter between these marine titans has always seemed to favor the orca whale. Ironically, the white sharks are the greater hunter compared to their rival predator.
Orcas also hunt varieties of critters for the example sea lion, seals, and penguins. They purposefully beach themselves on icebergs or sandbags to frighten these prey into the water. Then hunt them down and chomp them up.
Orca whales are bigger and better hunters than sharks. The most notable face-off between these predators in 2017 in South Africa, three sharks washed up ashore. Scientists determined that orca whales feasted on their richly nutritious liver which possesses high calories and serves as an energy boost.
Sharks and Dolphins
Sharks are inherently afraid of dolphins. There are about 36 dolphin species, found in every ocean. It is said that dolphins communicate with each other through squeaks, whistles, and clicks. Whether dolphins communicate or not is a topic that scientists have debated for decades.
Dolphins are mammals; therefore, they have warm blood and nurse their offspring. Their biggest trait towards their prey is their intelligence. Dolphins can quickly navigate through the water to attack or avoid sharks using echolocation.
These sea creatures are made of strong and thick bones. Unlike sharks built with vertical tails that limit their upward and downward mobility, dolphins’ tails are horizontal, coupled with soft skin and flexible skeletal joints. These qualities make them have agility thus, it is easier for them to change direction for quick attacks. Also, they help dolphins maneuver quickly in fights against cartilage filled predators such as sharks.
Dolphins travel in pods, meanwhile, sharks are lone predators. Whenever one dolphin is in trouble, other dolphins rush to defend their kind. This entails that when a shark decides to attack a dolphin, he chooses to attack a group of dolphins.
Dolphins’ intelligence is a significant factor that gave them the biggest advantage over sharks. They are intelligent and faster than sharks and can be stealthy hunters. These factors make sharks have a phobia for dolphins.
Sharks and Humans
Over the years, we can’t dispute the fact that sharks have a bad reputation as bloodthirsty man-eaters. Even from the story of Jonah in the old testament of the bible. However, on rare occasions do these sharks attack unprovoked. Sometimes these sharks are not trying to hurt us, they are just curious.
Although shark attacks seem to be a series of traumatic events, the table may have turned in recent years. Estimated annually, over 26 and 73 million sharks are captured and traded in the form of meats, oil, shark fins, and other raw materials in markets around the world. Although sharks are bigger and have more strength. Humans pose many threats to these aquatic predators. Human intelligence and skill are can scare away these predators.
These sharks encounter man-made fishing gears, traps in the sea. sometimes these traps and restraints are meant for other species. Nets placed in coastlines to restrain sharks away from beaches.
However, there are other human hunting paradigms that pose more threats to these aquatic predators. These are illegal poaching or hunting of sharks. Shark fins are sold and used to make soup. Other times the sport fishing for shark jaws as trophies.
Killing these sharks in large quantities can throw the ecosystem off balance. They are top predators and help in keeping the population of prey in check. That’s why sometimes it is better to conserve and make illegal the killing of sharks.
As it stands, sharks have more reason to fear humans than the other way around.
Sharks are apex predators and on top of their food chain. Certainly, a reason most sea creatures fear sharks. However, these sharks are afraid of a few other creatures for one reason or another as presented on this page.
While humans give sharks enough reason to fear them, sharks would likely attack you if you find yourself in their midst. However, the possibility of this is rare.