It’s the 31st annual Shark Week, which means eight days filled with plenty of screenings of Jaws, the usual Discovery Channel lineup and an endless loop of “Baby Shark” running through your mind at all times.
Shark Week is always a great opportunity to learn more about some of nature’s most fearsome, yet misunderstood, beasts from around the world. This year, apparently, it’s also an opportunity to watch naked people be very afraid of sharks.
But a recent Canadian Oceans and Fisheries research team encounter with a salmon shark shows we can’t forget our own sharks right here at home.
Researchers were in for quite a surprise July 19, when they were investigating Canada’s largest underwater volcano about 400 km off Vancouver Island, and came across a rogue log floating at sea.
Even more surprising was the fin and the two-metre long salmon shark attached to, about five feet in front of their boat’s bow.
In the video, shot on go-pros by the researchers as well as a drone from a nearby coast guard ship, the shark repeatedly leapt out of the water to rub its body against the log.
“It looked like it was aiming for these big clumps of barnacles and then it would heave its body out of the water and actually slide it along the log,” Cherisse Du Preez, a deep-sea marine biologist with Fisheries and Oceans Canada says in the video.
WATCH: ‘Shark Week’: Sharks devour cow carcass. Story continues below.
Researchers speculate that the shark was trying to scratch off blood-leeching parasites that had attached themselves to its dorsal fin — basically using the floating log as a scratching post. This is the first known footage of the behaviour.
“As far as I know, this footage doesn’t exist elsewhere,” Du Preez says.
If you’re worried about a run-in with a salmon shark in the wild, you probably don’t have to be. While the creatures are large enough, there has never been recorded attack on a human from a salmon shark. Fisheries and Oceans Canada encourages people to report all shark sightings to them.