She’s a Man-eater: Find Out Why This Shark Wins the Internet
A female sand tiger shark went viral recently for some seriously bad roommate behavior. Sharks, as we all know, do not have a reputation for playing well with others. This lady resident at the COEX Aquarium in Seoul lived up to her reputation. You won’t believe what happened to the guy who crossed her, and why some marine biologists think she did it.
1. She literally ate her roommate
Keepers said the female shark ate a male banded houndshark in what they dubbed a “turf war.” It took the 8-year-old lady shark 21 hours to eat the 5-year-old male shark. The sand tiger shark has a reputation for getting touchy with men, and this gal proved no exception.
She started with his head and worked her way down, eventually consuming the entire guy. The aquarium caught the whole thing on video. Officials called it an “accident.” As far as we know though, no one checked in with the shark.
Next: Why did the most feminist shark ever eat the guy?
2. You do not want to rub this shark the wrong way
An aquarium official told Reuters that the shark likely bit the other guy because he invaded her space. In all likelihood, it all started when the male shark bumped into her. “Sharks have their own territories,” the official explained. “Sometimes, when they bump into each other, they bite out of astonishment.”
Next: Unfortunately, other sharks do not make good meals.
3. She couldn’t keep the man down
Despite a truly valiant effort, her keepers expected the female to regurgitate her former tank-mate after a few days. According to National Geographic, this type of shark generally eats small fish, crustaceans, and squid. Even though she gobbled up the entire male shark, her system just isn’t designed to digest him.
Next: This is not the first documented case of shark-eat-shark.
4. Sharks often eat each other
Fetal sharks snack on each other in the womb, researchers discovered. Female sand tiger sharks — the same species that ate her roommate — usually give birth to just one or two baby sharks. That’s after up to 12 litter-mates start out in the womb. They emerge from the womb larger than other species who birth more babies. Accordingly, they have a better chance at survival in the wild.
Next: You won’t believe why they do it.
5. Sand tiger sharks compete for paternity before birth
When the embryos come from different fathers, the largest often eats the others to keep the family line going. “In some species, the struggle for paternity continues beyond the point where the female [mates with] the male,” said study co-author Demian Chapman, a marine biologist at Stony Brook University of New York. Researchers believe the embryo that grew to the largest size earliest ate the others.
Next: There might be another reason why this happens.
6. In shark wombs, only the strongest survive
A new documentary showed that the fetal sharks eat each other to stay alive, too. The BBC’s Story of Life showed the sand tiger shark migrating to warmer waters and growing lethargic during her pregnancy. Since she does not eat as much during that time, the documentary explains, the baby sharks literally consume each other in a fight to survive. This violent behavior carries on after birth, with many baby sharks — like other animals — cannibalizing each other to keep swimming.
Next: This gives us one other reason that shark may have eaten her mate.
7. Could the female shark’s meal been a bad date gone wrong?
Researchers also know that sand tiger sharks bite each other violently during mating, according to Live Science. Marine biologist James J. Gelsleichter explained that shark mating involves violent biting, so cannibalism in the womb may allow females to avoid getting too picky about who she mates with. In other words, she can sleep around and leaves the issue of good genes to the embryos themselves.
There’s no evidence the female in Seoul ate her mate after a mating accident gone wrong. Then again, did anybody ask her?
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