Turtles are certainly not critters, but it’s doubtful that many people would spend their money on turtles in a battle with tiger sharks. On a sunny day off the coast of Australia, however, a very determined female loggerhead turtle proved that size isn’t the only path to victory. Believe it or not, this indomitable turtle emerged victorious, miraculously overcoming her mighty foe in an epic battle that was captured on camera!
A giant tiger shark cruising off the coast of Western Australia thought it would love a delicious loggerhead turtle, but it turns out the turtle has other ideas. In the video captured by Jack Garnett and his drone, you can see the very large tiger shark trying to kill a female loggerhead sea turtle. However, the turtle kept rolling over so her shelled back was facing the shark, again and again. However, the tiger shark was not ready to be easily defeated and continued to attack for almost 10 minutes. It circled repeatedly and tried to bite the pesky turtle, but she continued to dodge the shark’s attack.
Finally, after nearly 10 minutes of fighting, the tortoise decided it was time to gain the upper hand and turned the tables on the would-be predator. Shockingly, this brave baby turtle managed to bite the shark’s tail himself! The shark had enough and swam away, leaving the turtle basking in her triumph and living another day.
Tiger Shark and Turtle
While marine biologists report that the behavior of sea turtles during epic battles with tiger sharks is common, it is extremely rare for sea turtles to actually survive such encounters. Tiger sharks are one of the deadliest predators in the ocean. In fact, they are the second largest predatory shark after the great white. Tiger sharks can grow up to 18 feet in length and weigh up to a ton! But it’s not just their size that makes these sharks such great hunters. Tiger sharks are known to be aggressive predators with strong mouths and sharp teeth.
Tiger shark teeth have slanted tips and sharp serrations that can pierce tough shells, clams, meat and bones. While their teeth are dangerous and deadly, what makes tiger sharks so fearsome is their bite pressure of over 6,000 pounds per square centimeter! These perfect predators can (and often do) eat just about anything they like. However, turtles are one of their favorite foods.
Loggerhead sea turtles—especially females—are incredibly fast and maneuverable, which pays off for our oceanic underdog when she finds herself facing her shark counterpart. Additionally, turtle shells are extremely hard and can withstand thousands of pounds of force. Loggerhead turtles can grow a shell about 35 to 41 inches and weigh 220 to 397 pounds. While these shells provide good protection against many predators, the tiger shark’s teeth are sharp and strong enough to penetrate them. However, as this video demonstrates, the incredible speed and maneuverability of sea turtles can make the difference between a shark snack and a miraculous escape.
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I am broadly interested in how human activities influence the ability of wildlife to persist in the modified environments that we create.
Specifically, my research investigates how the configuration and composition of landscapes influence the movement and population dynamics of forest birds. Both natural and human-derived fragmenting of habitat can influence where birds settle, how they access the resources they need to survive and reproduce, and these factors in turn affect population demographics. Most recently, I have been studying the ability of individuals to move through and utilize forested areas which have been modified through timber harvest as they seek out resources for the breeding and postfledging phases. As well I am working in collaboration with Parks Canada scientists to examine in the influence of high density moose populations on forest bird communities in Gros Morne National Park. Many of my projects are conducted in collaboration or consultation with representatives of industry and government agencies, seeking to improve the management and sustainability of natural resource extraction.
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