Photographer Spots Giant Bite Mark on Huge Great White Shark

Jalil Najafov, a shark conservationist, filmmaker, and photographer, was participating in a great white shark expedition in Mexico. During his visit to Guadalupe Island, a volcanic island located 130 nautical miles off the west coast of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula, he had the opportunity to encounter great white sharks and utilize his scuba diving skills. In August 2019, Najafov received an invitation to join the five-day expedition on the Pacific Fleet boat, specifically dedicated to observing these majestic creatures. While diving, he was astonished to come across a 15-foot shark exhibiting a massive circular scar caused by a bite, unlike anything he had ever seen before. The sight was truly unbelievable to him.

Najafov informs PetaPixel, “Prior to our departure from the island, she swam by our vessel as if she desired to bid farewell.” “During the final day, I observed this shark from the vessel.” “During the second day of the excursion, I was fortunate enough to encounter and capture footage of Seabatch.”

catching shark
© Jalil Najafov

Najafov used his GoPro HERO7 to capture a photo of the mark by diving underwater in a cage, after noticing the scar.

Despite its immense size, the filmmaker couldn’t fathom that it was a shark attack but comprehended that it was indeed a shark bite — he was extremely astonished to witness such a colossal bite imprint. Within the team, the sighting of the shark instigated an intense debate regarding the scar it left behind.

“He deduces that, as breeding typically results in marks on the gill regions, it must have been an act of hostility,” he rationalizes. “Moreover, realizing that the footage I had captured was exceptionally uncommon, I anticipated its potential to become widely popular on social platforms.”

Photographer Spots Giant Bite Mark on Huge Great White Shark
© Jalil Najafov

Breeding Mark or an Assault?

When the photographer of sharks used multiple cameras, he finally found the unusual wound caused by aggression or mating. He ended up losing track of the memory card with the photos, so he asked his followers on Instagram, @discoversharks, to help him find it. The card was posted on July 17, 2021, and it had a mark bite.

He sent this photo to the company that distributed his content to the media, not interested in distributing this particular set. The photo, in which he named the shark Survivor, was the most liked and well-received on his Instagram page.

According to Najafov, female sharks develop “mating wounds” as a result of male sharks biting them to secure their grip. On December 13, 2021, the diver shared additional photographs of female sharks displaying bite marks from mating encounters, which are infrequent events during the shark mating season.

According to the conservationist, “I believed it presented a great opportunity to showcase the authentic bite marks.” The footage depicting mating wounds on sharks became immensely popular, and subsequently, I began receiving media requests for additional details regarding the topic.

Before I posted the photo, I decided to ask my friend, Dr. Tristian Guttridge, who is a scientist and the Director/VP of Blue the Saving nonprofit marine organization, for his opinion on the viral super-went it, same as mine, and also the answer to the presenter of Shark Week on Discovery Channel.

It was a assault from a different shark, also experienced by Michael Domeier, another acquaintance and Shark Week host, who serves as the President/Executive Director of the Marine Conservation Science Institute.

Photographer Spots Giant Bite Mark on Huge Great White Shark
Najafov had the privilege of joining and assisting @silenthuntergroup with one of their research expeditions. During the trip, the crew, led by @tristanguttridge, caught a nurse shark, and the team, ‘worked up’ the shark. The workup included taking a variety of measurements, and tissue samples such as DNA and stable isotope, before tagging and releasing this beautiful animal, photo of Najafov by @grant.t.johnson

Due to its circular form, it is unlikely that the injury was caused by a boat’s propeller or rocks. The jaw’s circular shape reveals a scar on the shark’s underside, leading the shark diver to speculate that it is a result of a bite.

Aggressiveness is a Typical Behavior Among Great White Sharks

The top hunting locations typically attract the biggest sharks, and there is proof that great white sharks establish dominance hierarchies in their feeding territories. Sharks are not naturally territorial but often switch their habitats.

Sharks often fight for prey and protect themselves during the mating season, showing a normal level of aggression that is typical for the species. Sharks live in harsh conditions, which is why they exhibit such behavior.

According to the shark enthusiast, “I have observed pictures of wounded sharks both prior to and following injury taken by other photographers. It has been widely acknowledged that sharks possess a remarkable ability to heal their wounds at an exceptionally rapid pace.” This notion contradicts numerous assertions made on social media, suggesting that this scar might have originated during the shark’s juvenile phase, considering the swiftness with which wounds heal in sharks.

Photographer Spots Giant Bite Mark on Huge Great White Shark
Najafov was on DiscoverSharks Maldives whale shark expedition in September, whale shark, photo by Zimy Da Kid @zimmydakid

Did the Shark Get Attacked by a Orca?

According to Najafov, “In my opinion, this scar on the shark appears to be approximately one year old, and it was caused by a bite from another great white shark.” There is another hypothesis mentioned in the comments suggesting that the scar might be a result of a bite from a killer whale, but the structure of the orca’s jaws and teeth is dissimilar.

It might be fascinating to venture out on a shark of such magnitude, observe its bite proportions, and create a three-dimensional representation of the impressive Deep Blue shark [a mature female great white shark believed to measure 20 feet in length and purportedly exceeding fifty years in age]. Determining the potential dimensions of this shark is quite challenging.

It is possible that larger white sharks may be found in the deep blue sea. I don’t believe in the theory that there are many megalodons now, as it is being published. Unfortunately, we will never know for sure what happened to the seabatch. The only thing that is certain is that the bite was massive.

Photographer Spots Giant Bite Mark on Huge Great White Shark
Discoversharks expedition in Maldives, Sep, nurse sharks. photo by Alexander Schmidt @alexsharks_

Great white sharks generally measure up to 13 feet (4m) for males and up to 16 feet (4.9m) for females, on average.

The Photographer and his Equipment

He had been employed by the government job for many years, which sparked his lifelong enthusiasm for sharks and the ocean. Najafov grew up in Azerbaijan, a nation situated on the border of Eastern Europe and Western Asia.

Six years ago, he made the decision to devote his life to capturing footage and images of sharks in their native environment. Presently, he frequently resides in the United States, although his hometown remains in Azerbaijan. Having made it his mission to educate people about sharks and the significance of their conservation, he embarked on a journey that led him to various destinations.

Through his videos and images, he is making utmost efforts to garner attention towards the cause and believes that it is crucial to enhance consciousness regarding sharks. Merely for a mere “bowl of soup,” countless sharks are brutally slaughtered every minute for their fins, which leaves the environmentalist skeptical.

The filmmaker loves all the animals in the ocean, and he uses a Paralenz Vaquita underwater camera, as well as a Canon with 50mm and 18-135mm lenses. Additionally, he utilizes GoPro cameras, specifically the 10, 9, and 7 models.

Najafov primarily captures photographs using natural light, although he has occasionally utilized artificial lighting during nighttime dives.

Photographer Spots Giant Bite Mark on Huge Great White Shark
DiscoverSharks together with silent hunter group expedition, Andros Bahamas, silky shark, photo by Grant T. Johnson @grant.t.Johnson

Individuals Regard Sharks as Creatures

Najafov stresses that sharks are not savage creatures that devour humans, and he advises against accepting the depictions shown in films. The specific type of shark one encounters while swimming, however, determines the likelihood of a shark attack, which is generally quite minimal.

He continuously advises not to forget that they are wild animals. Instead of constantly looking through the viewfinder camera, he always turns around to seek his advice. While enjoying the sharks in their habitat, he also takes amazing videos and photos everywhere he looks.

Underneath, he typically dives to depths of 2-5 meters (7-16 feet) and practices breath-hold diving in various locations. It is only in Isla Guadalupe, Mexico, where the underwater adventurer employs a shark enclosure.

We need to save them! Between 70-250 million sharks are killed every year. We should always give them respect. Don’t forget that their home is the ocean. The diver who also photographs marlins, whales, and orcas cautions that we should always listen to our shark guides.

You can view more than 1,000 stunning pictures of sharks on Najafov’s Instagram.