Shark Caught With Shark in Mouth

Status: Real
Photos are doing the rounds (especially in Australia) of a large shark that was caught with another shark in its mouth. According to, the shark was caught at Tannum Beach:

Apparently the smaller fish was caught on Tannum's shark lines. While being pulled in, the movement attracted the attention of its larger colleague. The tiger shark was so reluctant to let go of its free meal, it was eventually pulled in to shore. These photographs depicting the shark, and its last meal, have since been doing the rounds - and perhaps persuading a few people to think twice before dipping a toe in around the Tannum area.

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Animals Photos

Posted on Mon Dec 05, 2005


When I was a harbourmaster, this sort of thing was a serious problem for the fishermen at my marina. There was a sudden upsurge in the shark population. The fishermen would go out, catch a tuna or a dolphin, try reeling it in, and find that a shark had already bitten off all but the fish's head. Sometimes the shark would still be attached, gnawing away. And sometimes another shark would be chewing on that shark. It was really hurting the charter boat business for a while.

Mostly, though, those were just little sharks two to four feet long. The large one in the picture looks quite a bit bigger than that!
Posted by Accipiter  on  Mon Dec 05, 2005  at  10:56 PM
Throughout my fishing experience , I have known a few fish and sharks upon being snagged will spit out their pups (babies)if they are pregnant. I think that is what happened in these pics. No big deal.
Posted by DemonOfOld  on  Mon Dec 05, 2005  at  11:58 PM
Ummm, DemonofOld, how exactly do you think sharks give birth? They're not like seahorses who hold their babies in their mouths after they're born. Plus, that smaller shark is probably 6 months - 1 year old given it's size (at birth a tiger shark is around about 20 inches, and the little shark looks slightly larger than that). Not that I don't believe you that something traumatic could easily cause a birth, but my vote is for the article's theory.
Posted by Curiously Optimistic  on  Tue Dec 06, 2005  at  05:00 AM
Demon, if you have graduated high school, sue your teachers. Seriously.
Posted by Craig  on  Tue Dec 06, 2005  at  07:55 AM
Demon is right, but just not right in this case. The biggie is the old fake shark from Universal Studios, and the real shark is the little one they put in his mouth. They were trying to stimulate the scenario that demon described. Also, Tannum doesn't have that many sharks around. Nice try, but it's a fake.
Posted by booch  on  Tue Dec 06, 2005  at  09:27 AM
I'm not quite sure that he meant spits literally...
Posted by Sakano  in  Ohio  on  Tue Dec 06, 2005  at  11:18 AM
booch, I think the fake shark from Universal Studios was a lot bigger than this one. Of course that doesn't rule out the possibility this one is fake too.
Posted by Captain Al  in  Vancouver Island, Canada  on  Tue Dec 06, 2005  at  11:45 AM
I thot I heard that some fish will carry their babies in their mouths?
Posted by FireFly  on  Tue Dec 06, 2005  at  01:54 PM
Uh, Curiously Optimistic, it's true that sharks don't give birth through their mouths, but it's absolutely false that seahorses "hold their babies in their mouths after they're born." Seahorses have very tiny mouths and could not carry even a newborn baby seahorse in them.

Seahorses do have a very extraordinary means of reproduction, though. The male seahorse has a "brood pouch" on its abdomen (not anywhere near its mouth). The female seahorse deposits eggs in the male's brood pouch, where they are inseminated, and he carries the eggs as they go through the earliest phases of development. When the babies are ready to swim freely, the male "gives birth" to young that are much more developed than the newborns of most marine fishes. However, they never go back in his pouch after they first emerge, which makes seahorses different from, say, kangaroos.

Firefly, there are some fishes that carry their eggs or their newborn young (or both) in their mouths, but sharks and seahorses are not among them. Some well-known examples of "mouthbrooders" (fishes that carry their young in their mouths) are many cichlid species, some catfish species, some Betta species, and the marine "Banggai cardinalfish."
Posted by Big Gary, friendly neighborhood aquarist  in  Dallas, Texas  on  Tue Dec 06, 2005  at  05:24 PM
Who said anything about giving "BIRTH" through their mouth ? I'm talking about sharks or fish who swallow the hook .. and when the hooks are set .. it tears open their innards and by forcing to swim away .. pups come out of the mouth.

{{bell ring}} End of fishing 101. Thanx for coming.
Posted by DemonOfOld  on  Tue Dec 06, 2005  at  08:03 PM
Big Gary, thanks for calling me on that one...I'm not sure what I was thinking. I do know better. grin
Posted by Curiously Optimistic  on  Wed Dec 07, 2005  at  06:11 AM
Wow demon you can read an encyclopedia you should be proud of yourself.
Posted by tim  on  Wed Dec 07, 2005  at  08:22 AM
As a biologist, I can cofirm there are fish that carry their young in their mouths- they pick up the eggs and carry them until well after they hatch. The term mouth-brooder is applied to them, but mostly they are small fish and none of them are sharks.

Demon may be right, as there are some viviparous fish where a brood might survive a mother being caught and then escape the body. But out the mouth? Have to consult a marine bio friend of mine, but it seems unlikely . . . a fish hook wouldnt cause that much damage to allaow the reproductive organs to opne into the gut that easily....
Posted by DFStuckey  in  Auckland New Zealand  on  Fri Dec 09, 2005  at  09:35 PM
DFStuckey, I think you just said exactly what I said several days ago. I'm glad we agree.
Posted by Big Gary in deep water  in  Dallas, Texas  on  Mon Dec 12, 2005  at  04:42 PM
Gary, glad to have supported you.
Posted by DFSTuckey  in  Auckland New Zealand  on  Mon Dec 12, 2005  at  06:15 PM
Some rigs we set up have (3 or 4) 6inch treble hooks set in throught the bait. Usually we self sharpen them when we are bored. Most sharks swallow their food whole (or try to at least) and swim away. We usually wait for them to take out 50 yards of line becuase by then they are most sure to have swallowed the bait and gives us a better chance of hooking them up. I have seen shark insides that have been basically converted to mush with this set up.

I wouldn't say it if I haven't seen it with my own eyes.
Posted by DemonOfOld  on  Mon Dec 12, 2005  at  08:54 PM
ok i can tell u its real tannums sands inst far from rockhampton qld australia and this was the front pic in our local paper, tiger sharks around here are big enough to eat full size turtles and dolphins and can get much bigger than the pne in the pic
Posted by bonghoover  in  rockhampton qld australia  on  Mon Aug 21, 2006  at  04:40 AM
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