Killer whale devours great white shark

As if to show the world which ocean predator is actually in charge, a killer whale annihilated a great white shark–in front of a boat-load of people. Just off the coast of San Francisco, the surprise killing caught whale-watchers off guard. According to National Geographic, the whale came to the water’s surface with a great white shark hanging from its mouth.

The interesting part? The whale is said to have held the shark in its mouth for about 15 minutes. And, to thicken the already unlikely plot, biologist Peter Pyle was in the area and able to get underwater footage, which revealed two whales feeding on the shark.

This unbelievable twist of nature was dubbed ‘The Whale That Ate Jaws’ by National Geographic and the footage was aired on the National Geographic channel for the Nature Untamed series. Check out the original story here.




[Thanks, National Geographic ‘Nature Untamed’]

Bizarre foods: European “delicacies,” by country

European foodsWhat constitutes “food” is relative, depending upon what part of the world you call home. In Asia, pretty much anything on no (snakes), two, four, six, or eight legs is up for grabs. Europe, however, has its own culinary oddities, as detailed below. Got maggots?

Iceland
Hákarl: Fermented, dried Greenland or basking shark. This tasty treat is prepared by burying the beheaded and gutted shark in a shallow hole in the ground for six to 12 weeks. Unsurprisingly, the end result is considered noxious to pretty much everyone on the planet aside from Icelanders.

Norway
Smalahove: Boiled lamb’s head, traditionally served at Christmas. The brain is removed, and the head salted and dried before boiling. Because they’re the fattiest bits, the ear and eye are eaten first. More fun than a wishbone.

Sardinia (yes, it’s in Italy, but this one deserved its own listing)
Casu marzu: This sheep’s milk cheese has maggots added to it during ripening, because their digestive action creates an “advanced level” of fermentation (also known as “decomposition”). Some people prefer to eat the soupy results sans critters, while the stout of heart go for the whole package. Be forewarned: according to Wikipedia, irate maggots can propel themselves for distances up to six inches. Here’s fly in your eye.

Northern Sweden or Finland
Lappkok: This charmingly-named concoction consists of blodpalt–a dumpling made with reindeer blood and wheat or rye flour–served with reindeer bone marrow. Well, Santa’s herd had to retire sometime.

[Photo credit: Flickr user fjords]

European foodsSweden
Lutefisk: This dried whitefish treated with lye is beloved by Scandinavians and their American Midwestern ancestors (let’s just say it’s an acquired taste). It’s traditionally served with potatoes or other root vegetables, gravy or white sauce, and akvavit.

Scotland
Haggis: Who doesn’t love a cooked sheep’s stomach stuffed with its lungs, heart, and liver, combined with oatmeal?

Poland
Nozki: Literally “cold feet,” this dish of jellied pig’s trotters isn’t as repulsive as it sounds. The meat is simmered with herbs and spices until falling off the bone, and set in gelatin. Think of how much fun this would be as a Jello shooter.

Ukraine
Salo: The cured fatback of pork is actually quite delicious, and similar to Italian lardo when seasoned. It’s chopped and used as a condiment, or eaten straight-up on bread. Plan your angioplasty accordingly.
European foods
England/Ireland
Black (or blood) pudding: Technically a sausage, this mixture of animal blood (usually pork), spices, fat, and oatmeal or other grains is surprisingly good. It’s served uncooked, fried, grilled, or boiled. Sound bad? At least it’s not called Spotted Dick.

Italy
Stracotto d’asino: A northern Italian donkey stew, often served as a pasta sauce. Donkey and horse are eaten throughout Italy, but this particular dish is a specialty of Veneto, and Mantua, in Lombardy.

France
Tête de veau: You have to love that the venerable French culinary bible, Larousse Gastronomique, describes this dish of boiled calf’s head as, “a gelatinous variety of white offal.” Mmm. While there are many different preparations for the classical dish, it was traditionally served with cocks’ combs and kidneys, calves sweetbreads, and mushrooms.

Eastern Europe
P’tcha: A calves’ foot jelly enjoyed by Ashkenazi Jews throughout this part of Europe. It’s uh, high in protein.

Germany
Zungenwurst: This sausage is made of pork blood and rind; pickled ox tongue, and a grain filler, such as barley. It’s available dried, or can be browned in butter or bacon fat before eating. And bacon makes everything better.European foods

Netherlands
Paardenrookvlees: Culinarily-speaking, the Dutch usually cop grief for their proclivity for pickled herring and eating mayonnaise on their french fries. That’s because most Americans don’t know this smoked horse meat is a popular sandwich filling. Trust me: Seabiscuit tastes pretty good.

Greece
Kokoretsi: Lamb or goat intestines wrapped around seasoned offal (lungs, hearts, sweetbreads, kidneys), threaded onto a skewer, and cooked on a spit. You know what’s good with grilled meat? Meat.

[Photo credits: black pudding, Flickr user quimby;lutefisk, Flickr user adam_d_; kokoretsi, Flickr user Georgio Karamanis]


Red Sea beaches add safety measures against shark attacks

shark, sharks, shark attack, shark attacksBeaches at the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh will reopen after officials ordered new safety measures following a recent series of shark attacks.

One swimmer was killed and four others injured in attacks by at least two sharks.

The new safety measures include patrol boats and onshore viewing stations. Swimmers, divers, and snorkelers will be reminded to stay within certain areas and not to feed the sharks.

Sharm el-Sheikh hasn’t had a fatal shark attack since 2004 and it’s unclear why so many incidents have happened in so short a time. One theory is that a boat carrying animals threw some dead carcasses overboard and that encouraged the predators. Another theory says that overfishing has forced sharks to hunt closer to shore, bringing them in contact with humans.

Deadly Red Sea shark attacks puzzle scientists

shark, shark attack
Marine biologists are scratching their heads over the spate of shark attacks near Egypt’s Red Sea port of Sharm El-Sheikh, the BBC reports. The waters near the city, which are popular for swimmers, snorkelers, and scuba divers, have seen attacks that have left one tourist dead and four injured in the past week.

The attacks started last week when a shark bit three tourists in a single day. Since then another swimmer has been injured and last Sunday a German woman was killed very close to the shore. Most of the beaches are now closed and authorities are warning people to swim in groups and avoid swimming at night.

The attacks were carried out by more than one shark from more than one species, including an oceanic whitetip and a mako. Marine biologists say this is “highly unusual”. They’re unsure what has caused the attacks, but suspect that when a cargo ship dumped a load of animal carcasses overboard near the shore it might convinced the sharks that it was a new feeding ground.

The mako has since been caught, but the oceanic whitetip, which is believed to have killed the German woman, is still at large.

[Photo courtesy Johanlantz via Wikimedia Commons]

Three swimmers injured by shark attack in Egypt

shark, whitetip shark, Egypt, shark attackThree Russian tourists have been injured by a shark in the waters off Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt, the BBC reports. The Red Sea resort, popular with swimmers and scuba divers, rarely has problems with sharks. It appears to have been an oceanic whitetip, which Jacques Cousteau once called “the most dangerous of all sharks” in his book The Shark: Splendid Savage of the Sea.

One of the victims is in critical condition. Most of the waters around Sharm El-Sheikh have been made off-limits until authorities can capture the shark and release it into the open ocean.

There have been some grim incidents involving sharks in recent months, including the human remains found in the stomach of a shark in the Bahamas. That said, it’s important to remember that the average swimmer has a very low risk of being attacked by one. You’re much more likely to drown. So if you’re into the ocean, keep an eye out for sharks, but be more aware of things like weather and currents.

[Photo courtesy Thomas Ehrensperger via Wikimedia Commons]