xperts are stumped by the behavior of a great white shark hovering off the coast of North Carolina.
The shark is a 10 ft, 3-inch male that researchers have named Shaw.
The shark has not been following the normal behavior patterns of other Great Whites and is instead hanging out along the border between Virginia and North Carolina without making any moves to migrate as it should.
Shaw has been hanging out near North Carolina for over a month now.
Researchers are collecting data on the shark due to its odd behavior.
They are trying to decide why he might be staying around instead of leaving the area since he appears to be completely healthy.
He is 564 pounds at this point and has been cruising around in the same relative area near North Carolina since October.
He was named for Mike Shaw, the long-time fish curator at SeaWorld in San Diego for over 40 years.
Mike Shaw is the initiator of the white shark research program at SeaWorld.
Some experts had originally suggested that he might be a juvenile since they are known to stay near their nursery until they are of age to migrate.
Shaw is not young enough, however, for this to apply to him.
He is a sub-adult at this point and not a juvenile.
OCEARCH is tracking Shaw as part of an extensive research project aimed at learning more about great white sharks.
So far, Shaw is defying what they have expected to find and he is behaving in a way that does not mirror the rest of the sharks that the project is tracking.
Shaw was tagged in October with his tracker off the coast of Nova Scotia.
He then traveled to the area of North Carolina and turned back to stay.
One of the reasons that the team became aware of Shaw was that he also has been swimming high enough in the water to show up on satellite.
The tracker has to break the surface of the water to show on satellite so Shaw has been consistently swimming closer to the surface than normal as well.
His behavior has brought up many questions about whether this behavior is totally unique to Shaw or if researches might just not have witnessed it in prior research efforts.
The team knows that the area around North Carolina is typically used as a white shark highway from Nova Scotia to the Gulf of Mexico.
Prior research indicates that Shaw’s behavior is just weird and they will continue to track his behavior while also tracking the movements of sharks that are behaving in a more typical fashion.
The team is trying to get a good map of great white shark migration to seasonal breeding grounds.
So far the team has isolated two locations in the North Atlantic where sharks are mating during the fall and the early part of the winter.
The team has stated that they will apprise the public of further research results related to Shaw as the project continues.
Hopefully his behavior will reveal information about Great White’s that was not previously known before which might also help to explain why they sometimes show up at beaches where they are not expected, endangering surfers and swimmers.
The team reminds those following the story that if you are swimming and encounter a shark, there are some simple rules to follow.
First, don’t panic.
Maintain eye contact and do not play dead.
Avoid swimming late at night or early in the morning as that is when shark attacks are the most common.
If the shark is in attack mode, make yourself as big and threatening as you can.
If the shark seems not to be focused on you and just passing through, make yourself as small as possible to avoid notice.
Lastly, leave the area of the shark slowly and keep the shark in sight as you do.
Shark attacks are not common and following these rules will often deter a shark from engaging with you in any negative way.
Always obey warnings from lifeguards on the beach and pay attention at all times when swimming in the ocean