Skip to navigationSkip to content

Video: Incredible Great White shark “researches” with her mouth

By Gwynn Guilford
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

There’s really only one sure way to figure out if something tastes good: Nibble on it a bit. That’s exactly what the 14.8-foot (4.5-meter) female great white did to a camera while a crew filmed shark footage off the coast of southern Australia.

“Of course, great whites don’t have hands,” says filmmaker Dave Riggs, who was shooting for an upcoming episode of Discovery Channel’s much-anticipated Shark Week. “So she was researching the area in the only way she knows how—and that’s with her mouth.”

This behavior—sometimes called “inquisitive,” “experimental,” or ”investigative” biting—is thought to be how curious sharks suss out whether an unfamiliar object is a sufficiently tasty meal. Unfortunately, it likely explains the half-dozen or so bites that great white sharks take out of humans each year.

In this case, clearly the shark found Riggs’ camera unpalatable. When one does like what it tastes, it’s usually pretty obvious. See, for example, this 2012 clip of an 18-foot great white chomping on an eight-foot blue shark (via marine zoologist Christopher Bird):

📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.