Turtles often have a stereotype of being slow as molasses, but sea turtles are apparently in a league of their own.
If someone asked me which sea creature I would take in a fight between a tiger shark and a sea turtle, I’d first say “that’s an odd question,” then I would side with the shark. I know sea turtles probably would have some decent speed in the water, but sharks are apex predators, and that pretty much ends the argument.
I might be wrong though based on this video below, which shows a sea turtle kicking into its top speed of 20 miles per hour and juking like an NFL pro to get away from an attacking tiger shark. At the beginning of the clip, the sea turtle swims by, minding its own business, and the tiger shark decides to attack.
One might think that the tiger shark would make short work of the sea turtle, but it seemed like the turtle had been waiting for this challenge its entire life. It immediately starts zigging and zagging the shark’s advances, and at one point even stirs up the water enough to confuse its opponent and buy it time to kick it into high speed and swim away from the shark.
It’s all really impressive, and it’s all caught on a drone flying overhead, giving a bird’s eye view on the entire underwater encounter. I’m a fan of sea turtles (I turn my lights off at night when I visit the beach and stay at a beachside condo), so I’m happy to see that they have somewhat of a self-defense system.
We aren’t all using paper straws and cutting up our plastic rings just for a shark to come by and take out sea turtles. I’m glad that these turtles of the sea at least have some elusiveness about them, otherwise I wouldn’t be so agreeable when someone hands me a plastic straw that dissolves in my mouth in the first couple seconds of use.
There are a couple of close calls in the video of the tiger shark and sea turtle battling it out, and it appears that the turtle is (hopefully) on its way to making it out alive. The footage cuts off as the sea turtle swims away from the shark, but let’s just say that the shelled-sea-creature comes out on top in this ocean showdown.
“This is an incredible stand off between a Tiger Shark and a Sea Turtle. I had no idea turtles could be so fast. This is the first drone footage of a tiger shark predation attempt on the island of Fernando De Noronha, Brazil.
From my observations it appears the sharks methodically push the sea turtles into shallow waters before attempting predations. Some sharks would seemingly just pass the turtles without attacking but each time pushing further into the shallows. This footage is just one of several attempts I witnessed.
Each time the turtles would turn their backs toward the sharks, but in the shallows the turtles would essentially be slowed enough when turning that the sharks would finally make an attempt. For this turtle, it escaped by turning fully and riding the shark until it could speed off. A truly incredible encounter.”