Dramatic footage has captured the moment a loggerhead turtle bested a tiger shark off the coast of a beach in Western Australia.
Drone operator Jack Garnett told Storyful that he captured the epic footage on the last day of a family vacation to the Winderabandi coast. His three teenagers had seen the loggerhead several times before, and affectionately nicknamed it “Mr. Turtle.”
“On our last day at Winderabandi, the girls saw some unusual water splashes 50 meters off the shoreline and the drone was sent out to investigate,” he told the outlet.
“I initially told the kids to not watch the drone video link as it appeared that a large three-meter tiger shark was in the process of eating poor Mr Turtle.”
The turtle, however, used its shell to roll over the aggressive shark several times, evading multiple bites.
“Over the next 10 or so minutes, our family was truly amazed as we huddled around the screen enraptured by a great battle between Mr Turtle and the tiger shark,” Garnett said.
Eventually, Mr. Turtle nibbled on the tiger shark’s tail, causing it to swim away in defeat.
“A single mistake by Mr Turtle would have meant a lost limb or fatal bite,” Garnett marveled. “[It was] an amazing outcome to see him swimming smoothly and at max power along the shore at the end.”
Garnett has since shown the video to marine biologists who recognized the turtle’s ingenuity as “known behavior” for the species. They also identified the lucky tortoise as a female based on the shape of its tail, noting that its trademark speed and mobility were assets in the fight.
Loggerhead turtles are classified as endangered in Western Australia per the 1950 Wildlife Conservation Act. Recognized by their reddish brown coloring, they often weigh over 200 pounds.
“They had never seen footage that captured [a fight] it so clearly and usually the turtles don’t win,” Garnett boasted. “They said that turtles are colloquially called tiger shark ‘sea-biscuits’ as they are a favored meal of the apex predators.”
While Garnett and his family are now back home, they will always remember their encounter with the special turtle– with one particular amendment. “My kids have also renamed the turtle Mrs. Turtle,” Garnett said.