A group of fishermen in New Zealand recently recorded their encounter with a great white shark as the predator circled their boat before attempting to bite its engine.
The incident took place in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf, according to the New Zealand Herald, when three men set out on June 6 after kingfish. The trio, Jack Lucas, Adam Ellington, and Chris Pom, were in a 23-foot-long boat, which was approached by a great white shark while near Kawau Island. The anglers noted that the shark circled their boat for roughly 20 minutes before coming in for a closer look at the propeller. They were able to film the great white, and in the footage, one of the men can be heard talking about how “angry” the shark looks.
After circling the boat, the great white went after its motor, taking an inquisitive bite at it, as the New York Post notes. Though the shark’s action was described as an “attack” by some, Department of Conservation marine scientist Clinton Duffy asserted that the great white was simply using its mouth to determine if the propeller was edible.
“The shark has obviously been attracted by the fishing activity, and possibly the scent of berley or bait dripping into the water off the transom.”
— JOE.co.uk (@JOE_co_uk) April 27, 2015
Such an action is common among white sharks and has been observed before. Earlier this week, a tiger shark encountered a fisherman off the coast of South Carolina, biting into his propeller, as the Inquisitr previously reported. According to Duffy, this habit may have to do with the sharks’ sensory organs, which detect a weak electrical field when metal is submerged in water.
“The ampullae in sharks’ snouts are very sensitive to weak electric fields given off by prey and its possible this is why they are attracted to metal objects like outboards and anodes bolted to vessels hulls,” he noted. “It could of course be that they’re just objects sticking out of the back of something that smells like it may be edible.”
Great white sharks are, of course, no strangers to New Zealand. Earlier this year, researchers were able to tag 11 juvenile white sharks when they were spotted in Kaipara Harbor. They were then able to track the sharks as they moved around the Northern Island, which is thought to harbor a nursery for great white sharks.
[Image: YouTube/ nzuploader03 via WPVI]