A sea lion which got caught in the throat of a great white shark off the coast of Australia apparently choked it to death, according to fisheries officials.
The shark, which measured 13 feet long, was filmed off the coast of Coronation Beach, around 270 miles north of Perth, thrashing around as it choked; it was later found dead on the shore. The shark had no signs of injury, nor was it visibly ill, it just died from being suffocated.
Rory McAuley, an Australian research scientist said in a statement:
"This could explain why the shark was exhibiting such unusual behavior in shallow waters off Coronation Beach. It is possible that the shark was trying to dislodge the blockage. Such a large object may have damaged the shark's internal organs or impeded water flow into his gills, contributing to his death. Alternatively, the shark may have accidentally become stranded in his attempts to get rid of the obstruction."Brad Tapper, who was on the beach with his kids, filmed the great white shark choking and said a dog walker had first spotted the shark when his dog refused to enter the water.
"When we spotted it, it was about 50 meters off the shore. We thought it was a diver or something. It was kind of surreal, you're watching it and you don't realize how rare it is at the time until you get home and have a look at the footage."
After the shark hit the shore, a number of onlookers tried to drag it out of the water with a tow rope but it kept attempting to go back into the ocean. Tapper continued: "We went to look at it and got within three or four meters of it but it started kicking and thrashing around again so we thought it was time to leave."