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Rare Encounter: Tiger Shark Vomits Echidna in Front of Astonished Australian Scientists



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A remarkable and rare event unfolded off the coast of Orpheus Island in Australia, as scientists from James Cook University were astounded when a tiger shark regurgitated a surprising find right before their eyes. The incident, witnessed in May 2022, involved the shark expelling a whole, spiky echidna, leaving the researchers in disbelief.

Nicolas Lubitz, a marine biologist from James Cook University and a researcher at Biopixel Oceans Foundation, described the moment as shocking and unexpected. He shared that the shark, measuring three meters in length, unexpectedly vomited the dead echidna, presenting a spectacle that baffled the observing team.

According to Lubitz, the dead echidna was fully intact with its spines and legs when it was regurgitated, leading the scientists to believe that the shark had recently consumed it. This unusual incident shed light on the tiger shark’s voracious appetite and scavenging nature.

Echidnas, which are unique to Australia and New Guinea, are egg-laying mammals characterized by spines covering their bodies. Despite being unharmed after its unexpected shark encounter, the echidna provided a peculiar sighting for the researchers who were engaged in tagging marine life to study their behaviors.

As a part of their ongoing research project spanning from 2020 to 2023, the team at James Cook University tagged numerous fish, rays, and sharks with 10-year trackers. This initiative aimed to deepen the understanding of the movement patterns and behaviors of various marine species in the region.

Rachel Adams

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