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Incredible moment seal cheats death as great white shark leaps out of water and just misses lunch

The luckiest seal in the world: Incredible moment pup cheats death as a great white shark leaps out of the water and just misses out on lunch

  • Fascinating pictures have captured the ‘extremely rare’ moment a baby seal narrowly avoided shark’s jaws 
  • Sighting took place on ‘Seal Island’, a rock where large numbers of pups congregate in False Bay, South Africa
  • Photographer Peter Bradley, 55, described the captivating incident as an ‘exhilarating experience’ 
  • He said it took ‘patience, focus and lots of luck’ before describing ‘incredible backdrop of the mountains’

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Fascinating pictures have captured the incredible moment a baby seal cheated death after narrowly avoiding the jaws of a great white shark.

The ‘extremely rare’ sighting took place on ‘Seal Island’, a small rock where large numbers of the pups congregate, in False Bay, South Africa

When the seals enter the water, though, they are targeted by lurking great white sharks circling the rock.

The huge predators go undetected due to the imperfect light of the sunrise, before building up speed and launching themselves at the seals. 

Although the pup was bitten by the shark, it eventually managed to escape its clutches.

A baby seal manages to escape the jaws of a great white shark near a small rock called ‘seal island’ in False Bay, South Africa

The huge great white sharks go undetected due to the imperfect light of the sunrise, before building up speed and launching themselves at the seals

The huge great white sharks go undetected due to the imperfect light of the sunrise, before building up speed and launching themselves at the seals

Peter Bradley, who took the photographs, said: 'These pictures stand out for me because of the beautiful sunrise and the incredible backdrop of the mountains'

Peter Bradley, who took the photographs, said: ‘These pictures stand out for me because of the beautiful sunrise and the incredible backdrop of the mountains’

The baby seal narrowly avoided the jaws of the four-metre shark, but is sadly unlikely to have survived injuries suffered during the pursuit

The baby seal narrowly avoided the jaws of the four-metre shark, but is sadly unlikely to have survived injuries suffered during the pursuit

However, it is sadly unlikely the seal survived the bite.

Photographer Peter Bradley, 55, witnessed the the incident and described it as an ‘exhilarating experience’.

He said: ‘The Great Whites look for the small, young, less able seals. When they have spotted a target they circle in the deepest part of the bay using this depth to build up speed. 

‘They adjust their speed and direction so at to hit the seal from below. Surprise is crucial. They often get so fast that they fully launch themselves out of the water, knocking the seals with them.

‘The shark successfully hits the seal. Together, they fly out of the water and the great white then grabs the seal, both thrashing about in the waves.

The 'extremely rare' sighting happens in only one part of the world and 'for a very short number of weeks' - generally just after sunrise

The ‘extremely rare’ sighting happens in only one part of the world and ‘for a very short number of weeks’ – generally just after sunrise

A great white shark pictured launching itself into the air as it pursues a baby seal off the island of False Bay in South Africa

A great white shark pictured launching itself into the air as it pursues a baby seal off the island of False Bay in South Africa

‘If not critically injured in the attack, a seal is much more able to twist and turn in the water and often able to escape.

‘These sightings are extremely rare. They only happen in this one place, for a very short number of weeks and generally just after sunrise.’

The photographer added: ‘Sunrise is important because it is dark enough that the seal can’t detect the shark coming and light enough for the shark to make an effective strike.

‘It’s an exhilarating experience. Catching it on camera takes patience, focus and lots of luck. These pictures stand out for me because of the beautiful sunrise and the incredible backdrop of the mountains.

‘The power, agility and beauty of the Great White shark is incredible.’

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