On a beach in the Maldives, experts discovered a lemon shark washed up on the shore. They were quick to identify the cause of his death–and it wasn't due to a predator you'd expect.
We all know that sharks are one of the world's most powerful predators. But even they can sometimes become victims of their own greed. This is what experts found after making an unexpected discovery on a beach in the Maldives in the Indian Ocean. They were called in after gardeners at a tourist resort on the Baa Atoll came across a beached shark. The shark, still alive, was wriggling on the sand but by the time specialists arrived, it was already dead.
A quick examination was enough to identify the species of the specimen, it was a lemon shark. They were also quickly able to identify what caused its death. The metre-long predator had a pufferfish stuck in its mouth.
Lemon sharks are frequent visitors to a lagoon in Baa Atoll, which is also home to a large population of pufferfish. However, marine biologist Lauren Arthur had never before witnessed such a scene, she explained to the site LiveScience.
The problem is that the pufferfish was a very bad prey to aim for. This is because pufferfish inflate their bodies when they feel threatened, reaching several times their original size. This, plus their sharp spines, make them a particular hazard to sharks.
According to the biologist, that's probably what happened here. The shark tried to swallow the fish, which swelled quickly and became lodged in the throat and mouth of the shark because of its spines.
Smothered by his prey
Sharks are normally able to vomit in order to spit out undesired or excess food. However, this obviously didn't work out well for this shark. It is even probable that attempting to do so caused the spines of the pufferfish to plunge further into the jaws of the shark, condemning it to certain death.
The pufferfish inflated its body and blocked the flow of water through its gills, causing the shark to suffocate. Lacking the right equipment, Lauren Arthur could not learn more about the unlucky shark or clear the prey. So they just buried the shark on the island.
Talk about food that kills!
Check out the video to see how the fisherman discovered the shark, as well as grim images of the scene!