Excerpt from All About Sharks: A Complete Guide to the World’s Most Misunderstood Predator (Nov. 2017):
The old-fashioned European term for sharks – “sea dogs” – is due to the oceanic whitetip’s habit of following ships in large, doglike packs, according to some experts.
The sharks would typically approach the vessel with puppy-like caution only to scurry away once any threat appeared.
The theory is that this was no accident, but was a result of the whitetip’s natural instinct to chase after large schools of squid and tuna, two favorite food items.
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