This rather unusual seal behavior puzzles the scientists because it’s usually the other way around: sharks prey on seals.
But in a research conducted by Fallows and his team, it appears that seals actually hunt sharks and eat them.
Fallows first observed this peculiar behavior in 2012, 20 miles off the southwest shores of Cape Point, in South Africa. This is the nearest peninsula that belongs to Cape Town.
Fallows was observing a group of ten blue sharks, when out of nowhere came a fur seal and started to viciously attack the sharks.
The young male seal was the similar in size with most of the blue sharks. Fallows took photos of the seal ripping the sharks apart with its teeth and eating their internal organs.
The seal managed to kill and eat five of the 10 blue sharks. According to the scientists, the guts of the shark are considered to be the most nutritious part of the animal, so that’s why the seal started eating them.
Experts are trying to understand why would a seal attack a shark, which is as big as it is, when usually it’s the shark that preys on seals.
The experts think that one of the reasons behind this odd behavior is that by attacking and killing the sharks, the seal is trying to eliminate the rivals in the food chain.
According to Fallows, he was very surprised when the seal started attacking and tearing at the sharks, since the seals’ normal diet consists of fish, crabs and squid.
It’s not uncommon for a seal to attack baby sharks or eat feed on dead sharks, but hunting adult sharks is very unusual, Fallows explains.
The marine biologist said that when he saw how vicious the seal was attacking the shark, he got scared because there was a risk of being attacked as well.
According to Fallows, this is the first time a seal was caught on camera while preying on blue sharks. The researchers do not exclude that this is actually a common behavior in seals that live in the area.
Fallows said that he needs to further study the situation in order to better understand the seals’ eating habits.
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