"This isn’t just something that they do by mistake. They’re very calculated."
It’s yet another curio of the animal kingdom that Orcas enjoy eating the fatty and delicious hearts and livers of Great White sharks.
In a technical sense, it’s impressive how the Orca gets to their favoured organ. They make a small tear near the liver or heart and suck the son of a bitch out.
The method is as surgical as it is gruesome.
“When they come in after they’ve debilitated a shark, whether that’s a ‘karate chop’ or ramming, then they tend to try and flip it upside-down, and that induces tonic immobility, and then the shark basically becomes catatonic, and it’ll just lie there,” explains Doctor Ingrid Visser, who founded the Orca Research Trust in 1998.
“And at that stage the Orca will come in, and they’ll typically grab it from the pectoral fin, then they’ll give it a good shake — viciously, violently, very, very hard — and when you’re underwater you can actually hear the shark ripping, and it sounds like Velcro being ripped apart.
“And then they’re going for the liver, and that’s the real thing they’re targeting — it’s the liver that they’re after.”
It’s the heavyweight showdown of the marine kingdom, says Visser.
“When you look at how an apex predator like an Orca hunts another apex predator, you see that they think about this, this isn’t just something that they do by mistake. They’re very calculated, they’re very cautious, and sometimes even when it’s a sure thing they’ll come in very slowly.”
It’s a surprise to learn that killing a Great White shark isn’t that hard. These peerless, top-of-the-chain tanks are just as vulnerable as the surfers, the swimmers and the scuba divers they’re suddenly killing with unprecedented regularity.
And you can do it!
Just make a rope lasso. Let the fish swim through the noose and when the rope passes those iconic, collectable, priceless jaws and just before it reaches the dorsal fin, pull tight.
Four, maybe five minutes, and the White is dead. Hanged.
“Get ’em on the hook and they go neanderthal,” says a shark fisherman who wisely prefers anonymity and asks that I don’t reveal his home port. “Use a powerhead and if you hit the wrong spot the spot the shark’s going to take off with half its face blown off. Of course, the lasso method ain’t perfect, either. Use the wrong people and they can get dragged over the side.”
Illegal in most places, of course.