Spy hopping Great White Shark breaking the surface
Here is the iconic big bad scary shark image, similar images are often batted around by so many media companies when they are having a slow news day. We have covered the behaviour of spy hopping in other posts but this particular video is an amazing example of when the Ampullae of Lorenzini captures the sharks interest so much that even the big juicy tuna head isn't enough to distract her from the alluring sense zinging through her electroreceptors.
This video was taken at Seal Island in Mossel Bay a harbour town on the Garden Route in South Africa’s Western Cape Province. You can see other similar behaviour in some of the other clips on the channel.
In the video the Great White Shark swims by the bait barely showing any interest before spy hopping through the surface just in front of where the camera is hovering. The shark then begins to use her mouth to try and find the source of the stimulation.
Sharks are often portrayed as mindless killing machines that kill first and ask questions later. The shark in the video demonstrates caution when approaching the bait. A short investigatory glance as she passes it before moving on to the camera where even then she approaches relatively slowly exercising caution at the unknown source. It isn't in the sharks best interest to go barrelling into unknown situations, as apex predators if they cause themselves injury that debilitates them it can cost them their life. Media stories that seek to demonise sharks are more often than not witnessing misunderstood investigative behaviour that looks scary in a still image but put into context is just a curious shark trying to learn more about its surroundings.