ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Education and Science»
  • Life Sciences»
  • Marine Biology»
  • Marine Life

What is a Shark Feeding Frenzy?

Updated on June 19, 2013

You may have heard of a shark feeding frenzy, and wonder what it is.

Feeding frenzies only occur in certain species of sharks, and is reminiscent of a riot in the local County jail with the inmates out-of-control and snapping and biting at everything that moves.

If you think being marooned at sea while sharks are circling round about you is bad, if a feeding frenzy is set off, things will rapidly become 100% worse for you.

Some types of sharks are excitable creatures, that while normally timid around humans, can turn into demons from Hell when in large numbers and food is present.

Just like a criminal gang egging each other on, when a feeding frenzy starts, each shark apparently loses control and bites at everything, even each other.

It gets even crazier when spinner sharks are involved, and they twist and turn and leap out of the water in their excitement, sending the water into a foamy maelstrom from which few creatures will emerge alive.

Shark Feeding Frenzy on Video

What sets off a feeding frenzy?

Usually there will be a large number of sharks present, and food, perhaps a shoal of fish or an injured mammal.

The sharks may circle the prey for a while, seemingly interested and watchful.

Suddenly, as if by an unbidden cue, they will suddenly speed up their movements and attack, biting and snapping their teeth while swimming in a circular fashion.

Wikipedia tells of a story where observers noticed a shark continuing to snap and bite despite the fact that it had already been disembowelled by the other sharks in the feeding frenzy.

This cringe-worthy incident simply shows the complete loss of control these sharks suffer when in a feeding frenzy, and hammers home the reason why you do not want to be in the water during this time.

school of sharks
school of sharks | Source

What Types of Sharks have a feeding frenzy habit?

The types of sharks known to indulge in feeding frenzies include:

  • spinner sharks
  • grey reef sharks
  • blacktip whalers(blacktip sharks)
  • bronze whalers (copper sharks)
  • oceanic whitetip sharks
  • Caribbean reef sharks

All predatory sharks can at some point or another become part of a feeding frenzy, though not all types will bite each other. Some are more controlled and aim only for the prey, and not each other, or anything and everything,

For that reason, I have chosen only to include the types of sharks that totally lose control during a feeding frenzy.

How do sharks detect food

Sharks are normally solitary hunters.

They detect prey through their unique senses.

Those include electroreception though an organ called the ampullae of Lorenzini, which are positioned around the shark's head, and are made up of electrically sensitive cells. These cells are connected to surface pores and allow sharks to detect the electric fields that are around all living creatures.

This means that there are no hiding places on the ocean floor or behind seaweed for potential prey to a hungry shark.

This in itself is a pretty impressive, but added to that, sharks also have what is called a lateral line.

This is a series of connected tubes that run down both flanks from the head to the tail of a shark. Each tubes contains tiny hair-like sensors that alert the shark to any presence near it.

Between their acute sense of smell, impeccable eyesight, their ability to detect prey by electroreception, and their lateral lines, it is not surprising sharks are such formidable hunters.

Sharks can sense injured fish in the water, and it is to those it will go to first.

Injured fish or other mammals cannot swim away and so sharks expend less energy catching them.

Injured humans are also easy prey for sharks, as has been shown in some of the many sea disasters of the last 200 years, but especially those that occurred during World War II.

lateral line of a shark
lateral line of a shark | Source

What causes a shark feeding frenzy

It is largely unknown what exactly causes a shark feeding frenzy.

The presence of food is the main factor, as is the presence of more than one shark.

The 695 sailors who became victims to feeding frenzies by oceanic whitetip sharks when the Cape San Juan was sunk in 1943 are testament to the damage inflicted.

All these injured men thrashing around in the water quickly brought the sharks, and when a feeding frenzy started, these men died quickly.

It was reported that rescuers had to fight the sharks off the survivors they pulled out of the water.

Shark feeding frenzies could be caused by one or all sharks trying to jealously guard what they consider to be their food.

When feeding frenzies occur in the presence of fish shoals, it is simply not known why sharks get themselves into such a state of high excitement that they resort to biting and snapping at everything that moves.

It has been said that sharks give off warning signals that a feeding frenzy is about to start.

They thrash around, with their snouts lifted high and their backs arched.

It is quite possible that frenzies occur due to a system overload in the shark's electoreception areas, due to a high level of distress signals being discharged by injured and frightened creatures in the sharks' vicinity.


Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)