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Tiny but fearless cookie cutter sharks will even bite nuclear submarines

Cookie-cutter sharks are a small species of shark the size of a domestic cat that will attack predators several times their size, bite off conical chunks of their flesh, and even the soft parts of nuclear submarines.The cookie-cutter shark (Isistius brasiliensis) was discovered by French naturalists in the early 1800s, but it wasn’t until the 1970s that marine scientists realized how brave and dangerous these tiny sea creatures could be. Until then, the cone-shaped, deep wounds that researchers often documented in all kinds of marine life, from small fish to dolphins and even great white sharks, had been a mystery. It wasn’t until 1971, when Everet Jones discovered tiny cone-shaped bits of flesh in the stomachs of cookie-cutter sharks, that marine scientists began to realize that the deceptively small sharks could seriously injure some of the ocean’s mightiest creatures.

Before Everett Jones’ breakthrough, people believed that the horrific cone-shaped wounds commonly found on all kinds of marine life were caused by parasitic lice, stings, bacterial infections, or other mysterious creatures. It wasn’t until they started studying the mouth and saw teeth that they understood how dangerous a cookie cutter’s bite could be.

Apparently, the sharks’ mobile tongues and large lips allow them to cling to their prey by forming a vacuum on a smooth surface. They then sink their sharp teeth into it and scoop out chunks of flesh in circular motions, leaving bloody craters behind. These aren’t minor wounds either, as the most serious wounds ever documented were 5 inches wide and 7 inches deep.
Little is known about cookie cutter sharks, as they are (fortunately) creatures of the deep. They spend the day at depths down to 3,500 meters but will approach the surface at night, as prey rarely venture into their domain. These small predators have glowing undersides that give off a vibrant bright light except for a dark collar around their necks. That color resembles the silhouette of a waving fish when viewed from below, while their greenish glow matches the moonlight. When another predator takes the bait and approaches the “helpless fish”, it becomes the prey.

The cookiecutter shark’s hunting mechanism is unknown, so the above should only be considered speculation by marine biologists, but one thing is certain: this cat-sized shark is no joke. Crater-like wounds that could only have been caused by the sea cookie cutter’s saw-like bite have been found on at least 48 species of whales or dolphins, including orcas, many species of shar, seals, stingrays, tuna and swordfish.

Cookie cutters have even been known to attack nuclear submarines, sometimes causing serious damage. According to Elasmo-Research, in the 1970s, cookie cutter shark attacks on the softer parts of submarines, such as exposed cables and rubber sonar domes, sometimes blinded the watercraft to the point where they had to return to base for repairs.

The small sharks were one of the reasons why softer parts of nuclear submarines were fitted with fiberglass cladding, solving the problem. It was reported that in some serious cases, the cookie cutter’s bite was so severe that the oil in the sonar equipment leaked out, rendering it useless.

People who venture into deep waters at night are also fair game. In 2009, a man trying to swim the 50 miles between Hawaii and Maui at night was bitten from his chest by a cookie-cutter shark, and in 2019, two swimmers participating in the Oceans Seven challenge suffered major lacerations to their stomachs. , legs or shoulders. There are also several records of bodies recovered from the water with post-mortem shark bites.

So if you don’t feel like having a piece of flesh cut from your body by a small but very dangerous creature, make sure to stay out of the deep waters in areas known to be inhabited by sharks that eat cookies. to cut.

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