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Killer Whales Ripped Out And Ate The Livers Of Great White Sharks

Claire Reid


Killer Whales Ripped Out And Ate The Livers Of Great White Sharks

Killer whales ripped open six great white sharks and devoured their livers, hearts and testicles.


An autopsy carried out on the bodies of the sharks, after they washed up on beaches in South Africa, revealed how they met their grim demise.

Marine biologist Alison Towner, who helped perform the autopsies, appeared on the Shark Talk YouTube channel where she shared some grisly details about the deaths.

The whales had ripped the majority of the sharks' skin from just below the throat, allowing them access to the liver. Towner said the it was done in a 'precise and refined way'.

Speaking on Shark Talk she explained: "Just under the surface of the skin is the perfect place to open up the shark and access and extract the liver.

"I think two of the animals had both the heart removed and one male had his testes removed, because they're very close there in the body cavity.

"We think the two killer whales were learning to get hold of the pectoral fins. We don't know for sure. It's like a ripping motion.

"The liver... it's oily, very slippery, it would naturally slide out so they could come along and share it."

The first shark Towner and the team examined did still have its liver intact, but they noticed several tell-tale marks pointing towards a killer whale attack.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

There had been reports of killer whales attacking sharks off the coast of South Africa dating all the way back to 2017, with several sharks, including great whites, washing up on the shore with their livers removed.

Towner and her colleagues called in shark expert shark expert Malcolm Smale and eventually the deaths of the sharks were linked to a couple of killer whales that had been spotted in the area.

Talking about finding the animals on the shore, Towner added: "It was really just shock and disbelief when we heard there's another large, virtually adult white shark on the beach with its liver ripped out."

The team had to rule out any other causes such as injuries caused by boats or fishing lines, but Towner added that 'when the animal is lying there with its 60 kilo liver ripped out, it's pretty obvious' as to what caused it.


Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Sharks, World News, Animals

Claire Reid
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