Video was shared on social media Wednesday that shows a sea lion brutally attacking and ripping apart a blue shark in Monterey Bay, California.
The video footage posted online by ABC7 shows a sea lion tossing a blue shark out of the water, ripping apart its jaw, and swallowing it.
The Daily Caller reported that California sea lions are not typically known for killing sharks. According to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries, sea lions usually feed on smaller prey.
“California sea lions feed mainly offshore in coastal areas. They eat a variety of prey—such as squid, anchovies, mackerel, rockfish, and sardines—found in upwelling areas,” The NOAA Fisheries website states. “They also may take fish from commercial fishing gear, sport fishing lines, and fish passage facilities at dams and rivers.”
The brutal sea lion takedown of the blue shark quickly provided widespread amusement online, as evidenced in a Reddit post discussion. After watching the video, one user wrote, “They’re not called ‘sea LIONS’ for nothing.” Another user warned, “Sea lions are vicious, seriously. I’ve seen people go up to pet them before, and they get real aggressive real fast.”
According to the Daily Mail, blue sharks are most often targeted in “finning” poaching operations, not sea lion attacks. The outlet noted that the practice of “finning,” which involves poaching the sharks for their fins and leaving the remains of the sharks in the ocean, is becoming more prominent.
Dave Bader, from Marine Mammal Care Center, told the Daily Mail, “There used to be a whole lot more blue sharks. Blue sharks are a normal thing for these waters. But they’re one of the species that’s been heavily depleted by ‘finning,’ shark fishing.”
While sea lion attacks against sharks may not be very common in California waters, one anonymous conservation expert told the Daily Mail, “Sharks are definitely on the menu.” Nevertheless, the conservationist said it is “interesting” to see a sea lion attack a blue shark “that big.”