If you lie down with sharks, you get up with bites.
A 12-foot-9-inch great white shark dubbed "Vimy," which was captured off the northeastern coast of the U.S., had two big bite marks on his head and body made by an even larger shark, researchers say.
The massive creature, which weighs approximately 1,100 pounds, was caught and tagged on Oct. 4 by a team of scientists with OCEARCH, a data-centric organization built to help researchers collect previously unattainable data in the ocean.
"White sharks live in a tough world," the group wrote on Facebook. "Need proof? Check out white shark Vimy’s head. He appears to have two big bite marks from what we suspect are encounters with other sharks. You can see one is pretty well-healed but the other is very fresh."
Vimy was later tagged and released back into the wild to be tracked by the organization.
So, what creature made a snack out of this apex predator?
OCEARCH Founding Chairman Chris Fischer told McClatchy News Group he has two primary theories on how Vimy sustained his injuries, one being that Vimy was competing with other males for a female and lost, the second being he tried to mate with a larger female who bit him.
"We found three males in that same spot and the two others had viable sperm samples. Maybe Vimy was just the small guy on the block," Fischer told the group. "We do know that shark mating is very violent. Sharks biting each other in the head is not a new thing. This is an everyday part of their life."
Fischer also estimates that the creature that bit Vimy was significantly larger — perhaps more than 2 feet bigger, which suggests the behemoth would have to have around 15 feet long.
“It was clear that something had just grabbed his entire head," Fisher remarked. "Anything that can grab an animal like that by the head is pretty impressive."