Great White Shark Chokes on Sea Lion

Onlookers at Coronation Beach in Western Australia watched curiously as a great white shark came to the shore and thrashed about. Unfortunately, it didn't occur to anyone to give the shark the Heimlich maneuver. As it turns out, the shark was choking.

The 13-foot-long fish bit off a bit more than he could chew when enjoying a sea lion for dinner. Beach combers filmed the scene, wondering what was going on with the poor creature. The choking shark's unusual behavior was most likely an attempt to dislodge the blockage, said Dr. McAuley, a research scientist who investigated for the Department of Fisheries.

This very shark had been tagged earlier this year in Southern Australia. A controversial shark cull has spurred ecological efforts to protect great whites, among other species. While some support the cull as a reasonable means of reducing shark attacks on humans, experts warn that culling sharks could upset the balance of the local marine ecosystem.

Sad to report, while the shark survived the cull, he did not survive the sea lion dinner. He washed up on shore, dead. Scientists theorize that the sea lion may have damaged the shark's internal organs, or that the shark died from being stranded when he was in distress in shallow water.

The sea lion, sad to say, didn’t survive either.

Photo: Breit Bart