Hunting Success

Breaching Advantages

Breaching is useful because it allows the shark to use its advantages of strength and surprise to charge the seal, concentrating its most powerful attack early in an effort to limit the amount of time hunting. If the seal survives this initial attack, it has a good chance of escaping by outmaneuvering and outlasting the pursuing shark. The longer an attack lasts, the lower the success rate for the predator.

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Optimal Foraging

Great white sharks maximize their hunting success by focusing attacks under the most advantageous conditions. Sharks hunt in the hours around sunrise, when visibility is lowest (but seals are present in the water). The white shark's retina is sensitive to low-light conditions, improving its advantage over the fur seals. Sharks also hunt more where there is a higher concentration of seals, although they are more successful at hunting where there are fewer seals present. This is probably because heightened levels of competition demand that sharks hunting in high-population areas strike before conditions are optimal, whereas sharks hunting where there is less competition have more time to set up their attack.