Cookiecutter Shark Takes a Round Bite Out of Large Prey


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If this particular innocent-looking sea creature swam up beside you, you probably wouldn’t fear that it was going to bite your arm off like a Great White. But while it may be small and unassuming, it’ll do a lot more damage than you expect, and in a particularly bizarre fashion.

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The cookiecutter shark is a species of small dogfish shark found in warm seas around the world, often near islands. Reaching only about 17-22 inches in length and bearing a small, blunt head, it doesn’t look like much – but that doesn’t stop it from going after prey that’s much larger than itself.

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That’s because instead of consuming its prey whole, the cookiecutter shark generally swims up to other sharks, fish, seals and even occasionally humans and take a giant bite of perfectly round flesh that looks like it was removed with a cookie cutter.

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The fact that it looks anything but menacing is what allows it to get away with this kind of attack, getting close to larger sea creatures and then revealing its bandsaw-like set of lower teeth. 

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Creepy as it is, you probably don’t have to worry about finding round gouges in your flesh after the next time you go swimming in the ocean. Human attacks are rare, and the cookie cutter shark isn’t regarded as highly dangerous.

Top image: C. Bento via Flickr Creative Commons; remaining images: Wikimedia Commons