Shell game: Watch as turtle deftly fends off attack from tiger shark near Australian coast
Video recorded by a professional drone operator shows the turtle repeatedly use its shell to roll over the attacking tiger shark, in clear blue water near the Winderabandi coastline.
WINDERABANDI, Australia – Sometimes the underdog wins, even if it's a turtle.
Drone video, which appears to have been initially shot in April, captured the dramatic moments when a loggerhead turtle got the better of an aggressive tiger shark off the coast of a remote beach in Western Australia, according to Storyful.
Video recorded by professional drone operator Jack Garnett shows the turtle repeatedly using its shell to roll over the attacking tiger shark in clear blue water near the Winderabandi coastline.
Garnett told Storyful he and his family were on their final day of a caravan holiday in the area and had encountered the same turtle several times while camping, even giving the animal a name.
"[My] three teenage kids, during their daily snorkeling and stand-up paddle boarding adventures, had visited what appeared to be the same large loggerhead turtle, and it was always a delight – the kids inventively naming it Mr. Turtle," Garnett said. "On our last day at Winderabandi, the girls saw some unusual water splashes 50 meters off the shoreline, and the drone was sent out to investigate. I initially told the kids not to watch the drone video link as it appeared that a large 3-meter tiger shark was in the process of eating poor Mr. Turtle."
He continued, "Over the next 10 or so minutes, our family was truly amazed as we huddled around the screen, enraptured by a great battle between Mr. Turtle and the tiger shark."
‘An amazing outcome’
After evading multiple attacks, the loggerhead turtle bit the shark’s tail causing it to swim away.
"A single mistake by Mr. Turtle would have meant a lost limb or fatal bite," Garnett said. "[It was] an amazing outcome to see him swimming smoothly and at max power along the shore at the end."
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Garnett told Storyful that he has since shown the video to marine biologists who recognized the "known behavior" and identified the turtle as a female loggerhead turtle by "the shape of its tail."
Academic research has indicated that female loggerheads’ speed and maneuverability offer a possible advantage when tiger sharks attack.
"They had never seen footage that captured it so clearly, and usually, the turtles don’t win," Garnett said. "They said that turtles are colloquially called tiger sharks' sea-biscuits' as they are a favored meal of the apex predators."
Storyful contributed to this report.