The Big Blue Ocean Exploration

Rare image shows great white shark losing tooth during airborne attack on seal

David Jenkins didn't spot flying tooth until he zoomed in on unique photo

great white shark

Rare image shows great white shark losing tooth during airborne attack on seal; photo by David Jenkins/Caters News Agency

A photographer off South Africa recently captured the moment a large great white shark breached the surface during an ambush attack on an unsuspecting seal.

What he soon found out was that in one of his images was a large triangular-shaped tooth, flying through the air.

great white shark

David Jenkins (pictured) spent weeks trying to capture the perfect shark attack image. Photo via Caters News Agency

Not a big deal for the shark. Great whites possess the ability to replace lost teeth rather quickly, and may lose more than 35,000 teeth in a lifetime.

But it was a huge deal for the photographer, David Jenkins, because his rare image reveals more about the dynamics of a white shark’s ambush attack.

“It all happened incredibly quickly,” he told the Daily Mail. “I didn’t know the shark had lost its tooth until I zoomed in on the image in the back of my camera to check if the photo was sharp and in focus.

“I have never seen this happen or even seen a photo of this happening on a real seal hunt before. It’s definitely a unique shot.”

The waters near Cape Town boast a large population of great white sharks, which sometimes launch airborne during their attacks. (Posted below is a super-slow-motion video showing the event.)


Jenkins, 41, said he had spent weeks on boats trying to obtain the perfect shot and knew this day could be productive, because the cloud cover had turned everything gray.

“The clouds make it much more difficult for the seal to spot the shark and its gray back makes for perfect camouflage,” he explained. “The final pictures were definitely worth the wait, and I would do it all again in a heartbeat.”

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