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In for the Kill All animals give off electric signals through their muscles and nerves. Sharks can detect these signals through small holes, or pores, on their snouts. It’s like a sixth sense, called electroreception. Sharks, the duck-billed platypus of Australia, and a few other animals are thought to have this sense. It’s so strong in sharks, they can sense

5 billionths of a 1 volt. T at means this shark could pick out a single heartbeat from 1 meter away. So even with his eyes closed, the great white knows exactly where his prey is. T e shark’s jaws snap shut, but they

This seal leaps out of the way to avoid the great white shark.

narrowly miss the seal. T e seal plunges back into the water, desperate to get away. T e shark follows. He opens his mouth

Making His Move He is swimming low in the water now. A small cluster of seal pups is splashing above him. One pup has been injured while playing. It’s just a tiny scratch, but from it oozes the blood that the shark has been smelling. T is seal is the perfect prey for him. Young seals have less experience defending themselves against predators. T ey are oſt en easier to catch and eat. Now that he has spotted his prey, it’s time

to make his move. He pushes forward with his powerful back fin and gathers speed as he approaches the group. Suddenly, he springs up, breaking the

surface of the water. He opens his mouth, revealing rows of jagged teeth. T e injured seal leaps out of the water to avoid the shark’s bite. In mid-air, the seal turns back and swipes at the great white’s eyes with his sharp claws. To protect himself, the great white rolls his eyes backward into the sockets. It doesn’t matter that he is blind now because he can still “see” by using another sense.

again, his jaws extend forward, and his head moves back. T e lower jaw strikes first, stabbing the seal. T en the upper jaw clamps down. His teeth lock together. T e great white holds the seal locked in his

massive jaws and shakes his head from side to side. His teeth work like rows of small saws. T e seal dies. T e great white takes his time, but aſt er he

fi nishes his meal, he moves on. It may be weeks before he needs to eat again.

WORDWISE cartilage: a hard, fl exible material that

makes up a shark’s skeleton

denticle: a small, thorn-like hook on a shark’s skin

electroreception: a sense sharks have to find other animals by detecting the electric signals they send out

lateral line: a system of thin tubes under a shark’s skin that help it detect movement

olfactory bulb: an organ a shark uses with which to smell


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