Sharks are considered the apex predators of the ocean, but could they be hunting their own kind? That’s the question scientists are trying to answer in the National Geographic documentary, “Cannibal Sharks.” The documentary looks at the remains of sharks that have clearly been attacked by something bigger. Many of the sharks are so big that the only possible explanation appears to be a bigger shark. Now, scientists are trying to determine what is causing some of these sharks to be cannibals.

The most common answer appears to be sharks that are caught on lines. When these sharks get caught and tangled, their thrashing to get free sends out a signal across the ocean and other nearby sharks pick up on an animal in distress and see it as a free meal. It seems that the sharks aren’t really choosing to be cannibals, but they are looking for something to easy to eat and, in these instances, it just so happens to be sharks. While that provides some of the explanation, it’s not the only reason sharks are cannibalizing each other.

I learned a lot about some shark habits that I wasn’t expecting from this documentary. Some of the sharks seem to follow smaller sharks to their breeding grounds so they can eat the young when they are alone. While an entire group of young sharks will often be able to outmaneuver the bigger shark, if one is too far away from the school, the bigger shark becomes that apex predator, singling it out and devouring it for a meal. Watching this documentary, I get the feeling the sharks in these cases would do this to whales, dolphins and any other creatures of the deep, they just happen to spot a smaller species of shark. It’s amazing what happens in nature.


The craziest part of this was the shark that was cannibalizing its fellow sharks in the womb. Apparently one shark began eating its brothers and sisters before it was even born. It would continue eating other sharks that it came across and could eat. That is wild. I understand a bigger shark wanting to eat a smaller shark. I understand a shark noticing a shark in distress and deciding to make it a meal. I don’t understand eating sharks in the womb. I now want an entire documentary on this shark.

This wasn’t the best documentary I’ve seen this SharkFest, but it was a good one. I learned a lot about why some sharks cannibalize their own. I also have far more questions than answers about other sharks who have gone cannibal. It’s a wild experience that I can’t wait to learn more about.

Rankings: 3 stars

What did you think of “Cannibal Sharks?”





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Jeremy Brown

Jeremy has been a big Disney fan since he was a kid growing up during the Disney Renaissance. One day he hopes to go to every Disney Park in the world.

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