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Most sharks are content to be bottom dwellers. They scavenge the bottom for food at a slow methodical pace. A few predatory sharks have stronger tails that thrust them forward at great speeds to catch their prey. Periodically these sharks breach the surface in a burst of speed.
A writer from National Geographic describes what it’s like to see a flying shark:
The highest I have ever seen a white shark jump out of the water is about eight to ten feet [two and a half to three meters] clear of the water. Occasionally you will be looking vacantly out across the ocean and one of the sharks of Seal Island will suddenly take to the air, leaving you and your guests speechless as to how such a huge animal can jump so high.
We have on many occasions also seen makos go a lot higher than white sharks, and it is an amazing sight to see a cartwheeling mako in action. Many other species of sharks jump on a regular basis, such as threshers, copper sharks, spinner sharks, and salmon sharks. A breach usually lasts less than one second, so if you are looking in the wrong place, all you get to see is a big splash and a lot of hollering from those who did see it.
Check out a few videos of these sharks in action:
See our entire series of Shark Week posts: