Why Do Great White Sharks Roll Their Eyes Back Into Their Head?

Great white sharks are some of the most feared and respected predators in the ocean. Their impressive size, powerful jaws, and razor-sharp teeth make them formidable hunters capable of launching themselves at prey at speeds of up to 25 mph. But have you ever wondered why they roll their eyes back into their head?

As ambush hunters, great white sharks rely on surprise and lightning-fast strikes to catch their prey. When they launch themselves at high speed into their target, they also throw their heads from side to side to slice through flesh and blubber with their razor sharp teeth. But with very little protection over their eyes, this fast and violent movement could easily lead to eye damage. Rolling their eyes back in their head provides a protective barrier that shields their eyes from potential injury.

In addition to protecting their eyes during the attack, rolling their eyes back also helps great white sharks avoid damage from bone fragments when they shake their head from side to side. This is especially important when hunting or scavenging on large prey that has bones that could potentially harm the shark.

Why Do Great White Sharks Roll Their Eyes Back Into Their Head? / White Shark Ocean / Great White Shark Diving / White Sharks

Another interesting fact about great white sharks is that they cannot swim backwards. This means that when they reach high speeds while chasing prey on the reef, they cannot always turn in time to avoid collisions with the reef. Rolling their eyes back in their head allows them to protect their eyes as they crash into the reef, ensuring that they can continue hunting without suffering any major injuries.

However, rolling their eyes back in their head does come with a trade-off. Great white sharks cannot see when their eyes are rolled back, so they often do it at the last second just before they hit their prey. This means that they rely on their other finely tuned senses, such as smell, hearing, lateral line and electro receptors to ensure that their ambush is successful.

In conclusion, rolling their eyes back in their head is an essential survival mechanism for great white sharks. It protects their eyes during high-speed attacks and prevents injury from bone fragments and collisions with the reef. While it may seem like an odd behaviour, it is just one of the many adaptations that great white sharks have evolved to become some of the most successful predators in the ocean.

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