Nothing scares a great white! Except …

Study shows that just the sight of an orca is enough to send great whites a-running for a full year
great white shark "Everybody! This is NOT a drill! There's an orca here!" (© Peternile - Dreamstime.com)


Great. White. Shark.

These three words are enough to strike fear into the hearts of not only humans, but beasts, as well. To be clear, we love the great white. It's just an animal doing what it was put on this planet to do—be the best hunter in the seas. So yes, more power to it. We just don't particularly want to be near one in the open water.

Like, ever.

But if you're someone who needs a little more of a push to feel any sympathy for these ageless predators, this fact might help. They're scared to death of orcas.

Let's get out of here!

Embed from Getty Images

"Coming through!!" (Getty Embed)

A new study by a team of marine scientists near San Francisco, California have been collecting years of data on great white and orca encounters. They have found that without fail, these mighty sharks will abandon their hunting grounds whenever orcas arrive.

The orcas don't even need to stay. They can just kind of be passing through. Doesn't matter. The sharks will leave the area and not come back until the next hunting season. That's quite remarkable.

Big trouble

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"Hey, buddy! Did that orca leave yet?" (Getty Embed)

As you might guess, the big reason why is that orcas are one of the very few animals that prey upon great whites. Though it is not an easy thing to spot in the wild, orcas hunt these sharks. This comes down to the fact that as impressive as great whites are, they still pale in comparison to the size, weight, and power of a killer whale. In addition, orcas travel in groups known as pods, while sharks are more often solitary.

All this said, the ocean is a very big place. So while the sharks will hightail it out of there, it's not as though they're traveling to the other side of the planet. Often it was just a mile or so down the coast.

So if you're an animal that gets preyed upon by great whites, we have a suggestion—just hang out with some orcas! Unless, of course, orcas also hunt you ...


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  1. Orca: Hey I hear there’s lots of sharks down the coast.
    Other Orca: Don’t bother. Fred’s down there.
    Orca: Darn it! I guess I’ll have to settle for some appetizers, like salmon. 😥 😥 😥

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