Shark Files: Seal Escapes Jaws of Great White: Video

It was seal: 1 shark: 0 at Cape Cod on Monday, when a seal leapt for its life to escape the jaws of a hungry great white.

Video shot earlier this week by the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy shows a great white chasing a seal, with both leaping out of the water during the life-or-death chase.

As the video, captured off Monomoy, Cape Cod, Mass., reveals, the seal manages to escape the jaws of death by contorting its body.

click to play video

"We had never seen a breach out of water before," AWSC President Cynthia Wigren told ABC News. "It was pretty incredible to see."

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Both coasts are experiencing an uptick in great white numbers now. The reasons are three-fold, according to experts.

Warm water Great whites are sensitive to ocean temperatures and can often be seen in warmer waters. On the West Coast, for example, ocean temps have hit 63+ degrees in recent days, even 17 miles off of San Francisco.

Food availability Krill, anchovies, and larger fish have been plentiful along the coasts this year, bringing both seals and sharks in for the feast. If the choice is between a small fish and a moist and meaty seal, however, the AWSC video shows what the shark will go after.

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Rebounding great white population The great white shark population has been slightly increasing in recent years. As George Burgess, director of the Florida Program for Shark Research, informed Discovery News, "After a decline of up to 90 percent for some species in the United States, they are beginning a gradual rise toward the numbers of a century ago. That suggests some of the damage we've done to the oceans has been reversed, and that's something to celebrate."

The uptick has affected Cape Cod's beaches, which were closed last week after beachgoers spotted a great white biting into a seal and then spitting its bloody victim onto a beach, where it later perished.

Despite all of these shark fails, the great white shown in the video managed to have a decent day. Wigren said that after the earlier missed opportunity, it successfully hunted down another seal underwater.

Seal in mid air escaping a great white shark.

Great white sharks are the biggest predatory fish in the world. And despite their mass, they can travel at ridiculous speeds, at over 35 miles per hour, to track their prey. Marine biologist Joe Butler traveled with two friends off Hans Bay, South Africa, in hopes of seeing some great whites. Which they did. See more of Butler's story on a

new episode

of

This Happened Here

on the Seeker Network.

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"In order to bring them in closer, to give everyone a good look, the crew would employ a tuna head on the end of a long rope and drag it out of the way before the shark had a chance to grab it," Butler said.

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This amazing photo, taken from inside the cage, shows the shark grabbing the bait before anyone had a chance to react. "There's actually quite a sobering moment when you realize that proverbially you're the fish out of water, this is their home, and you’re not actually supposed to be there," Butler said.

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"I think a lot people have this image in their head of them being sort of an idealistic predator, but in reality these animals are still quite vulnerable. However, seeing them in their natural environment is something I would recommend to anyone in a heartbeat." Above, Butler (left), prepares to cage dive with his two classmates.

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