Journal of Ethology

, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 205–209 | Cite as

Apex predatory sharks and crocodiles simultaneously scavenge a whale carcass

  • Austin J. GallagherEmail author
  • Yannis P. Papastamatiou
  • Adam Barnett
Short Communication


Scavenging is an important component to the overall ecology of consumers in virtually all ecosystems on Earth. Given the energetic benefits of foraging on these resource subsidies, opportunistic predators will adjust their behaviors accordingly to maximize access. One of the many consequences of large-scale scavenging opportunities is species interactions that are rarely observed in nature. Here we describe the first published record of predatory sharks (tiger sharks, Galeocerdo cuvier) and saltwater crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus) foraging together in space and time, as documented on a large whale carcass off Western Australia. We report on and discuss the behaviors of the sharks and crocodiles in the hope of shedding new light on the interactions between apex predators that are rarely seen together, but may overlap under specific contexts.


Behavior Carcass Saltwater crocodile Predator Tiger shark Whale 



Thank you to Jeremy Tucker for obtaining and sharing the drone footage, as well as the staff of Great Escape Charters for assisting with the event. The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material (299.2 mb)
Electronic Supplemental Material 1. Continuous footage of tiger sharks and a solitary saltwater crocodile feeding on a humpback whale carcass (MOV 306380 kb)


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Copyright information

© Japan Ethological Society and Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Beneath the WavesHerndonUSA
  2. 2.Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric ScienceUniversity of MiamiMiamiUSA
  3. 3.Department of Biological SciencesFlorida International UniversityNorth MiamiUSA
  4. 4.College of Science and EngineeringJames Cook UniversityTownsvilleAustralia

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