Night of the Hunting Sharks! | JONATHAN BIRD’S BLUE WORLD

Coming up next on Jonathan Bird’s Blue World,
Jonathan films an amazing night hunting behavior! Hi I’m Jonathan Bird and welcome to my world! The White tip reef shark. It’s one of the
most common small sharks on reefs all around the Indo-Pacific. Considered largely harmless,
this shark is usually seen by divers lounging on the bottom. But how does this shark eat when it seems
to spend all its time sitting around? To answer that question, I’m getting aboard
a special dive boat in Costa Rica for a 300 mile journey to Cocos Island. Cocos Island is a tiny dot on the map out
in the Pacific Ocean. The only way to get there is a 30 hour boat ride! We leave the dock in Puntarenas, Costa Rica
and travel through the bay to the open sea. The swell of the Pacific soon envelops the
boat, and I settle in for a day and a half of waiting. Finally we reach Cocos Island, a place that
gets more than 12 feet of rain in a year. A sunny day like this is rare indeed! But
all that rain has created a tropical paradise. Cocos Island, and the water around it, is
a National Park of Costa Rica. It’s uninhabited and protected from development. My home away from home for the week is the
130 foot long live-aboard dive boat Argo. Our team will be diving from a smaller boat,
which the crew launches with a crane. I head out for a dive at Cocos, famous for
its prolific marine life that will impress even the most experienced divers. Our dive boat captain Pepe takes us to an
exciting spot known for sharks. As soon as I hit the water, my camera is rolling,
recording astonishing sights in all directions. The most famous residents of Cocos are schools
of scalloped hammerhead sharks. They’re quite shy, rarely coming too close to divers
because the bubbles frighten them. I hide behind a rock and make an attempt to film
the hammerheads as they slow down to be cleaned by Barberfish. In the water above the sharks, huge schools
of jacks swirl by in the current. And sitting on the bottom, not doing much—white
tip reef sharks. Lots of them. Some tolerate my camera at close range while I film how
they gulp water to ventilate their gills while they rest. During the day, they spend a lot
of time resting. But don’t let this apparent lethargy fool
you. These little sharks are hunters. As the sun sets, a transformation occurs on
the reef. That transformation takes place when daytime
fish go to sleep for the night, hiding in the reef. And the sharks go on the prowl. After sunset, I gather my gear and head out
to make a dive. I’m about to jump into the ocean in the
middle of the night when I know for sure that there are dozens of sharks beneath the boat! As soon as I reach the reef, I see Whitetip
Reef sharks swimming around. None of them are resting anymore. While Whitetip Reef sharks do normally feed
at night, here at Cocos Island they have learned an additional skill: They use divers’ lights
to help them feed. So the sharks are drawn to my video lights. Within a few minutes, dozens of sharks are
swarming the reef around me looking for food. During the day, this reef has vast schools
of fish on it. At night, all those fish are still here. Most
are holed up inside the reef sleeping. But this Creole Wrasse is sleeping right out
in plain view of the sharks. Is it in trouble? A bright blue Parrotfish sticks out like a
sore thumb, yet the sharks swim right by without noticing. What’s going on? Since the sharks normally hunt in the dark,
they are much more attuned to their other senses and principally hunt by feeling vibrations
through the water from the prey. In other words, if the prey doesn’t move, the sharks
may not ever see it. A filefish hovers as still as it can. It knows
it’s in a dangerous position. When a shark bumps it, the filefish slowly
moves away. But the shark felt it, and comes back around
to investigate. A gentle tap with its snout and the shark
knows it’s onto a meal. Once the fish gets frightened and bolts, all
the sharks sense the vibration and start chasing the fish. It’s a free-for-all. The fish knows its only chance is to vanish
into a hole in the reef beyond the sharks’ reach. It makes a dash for the reef, but it’s too
late. Another filefish…bravely holding still in
open water, surrounded by sharks. But the sharks do see this one. The fish tries to
slowly sneak down to the reef…but doesn’t make it. Meanwhile, the parrotfish is still hiding
in plain sight. But one of the sharks has either seen it or detected its beating heart
with its electrosensory system. The shark nudges the fish for a reaction. The fish bolts, and a chase ensues. I follow along to see what happens. The parrotfish is desperately trying to find
a place to hide. It dives into the reef. But the sharks pursue
the fish relentlessly. They will wiggle their way into a tiny hole to grab the fish, sometimes
knocking over the coral in the process. Everyone one of these sharks is hungry and must eat
to survive. Eventually two sharks get in from the other
side, fighting over the parrotfish. The fish is dinner. After an hour of excitement watching the sharks
hunt, my air is getting low and its time to head back towards the surface. As I reluctantly ascend, I get a wider view
of the scene playing out below. I would hate to be a fish on that reef! Whoa, it turns out that white tip reef sharks
aren’t lethargic at all! At night they are extremely aggressive hunters. Get me out of

100 thoughts on “Night of the Hunting Sharks! | JONATHAN BIRD’S BLUE WORLD

  1. i always wonder during the day sharks swim past schools of fishes that look yummy. Why they dont eat them? now its like 1000 sharks vs 1 fish. i dont get this

  2. dude i luv this video and i really luv sharks but ive never seen a real one only on video have i seen one whats it like to be swiming with sharks

  3. I dont think its the best idea to help the sharks by giving them a light advantage in the night.. 😉 let them hunt naturally. .. Poor Parrot 🙂

  4. Why don't the sharks hunt during the day while all the fish are out and about? It seems like it takes more effort to fight other sharks in the dark just to find that one measly fish who's dumb enough to be out in the open!

  5. I noticed something different as I watched the video. I saw some of these sharks tagged on the fin.

  6. 8:00–9:00 I see so many sharks with yellow tags underneath their dorsal fins.
    Also where did those Hammerheads go in the night.

  7. Something I've always wanted to ask Jonathan is how come he doesn't use the traditional kind of regulator, I've seen the type he utilizes but wasn't that used in the earlier days of SCUBA?

  8. You note how my whitetip reef friends work as a team, so if one sharky doesn't get the fish, another will!!! Sharky xxx

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