Let’s Talk About It…Shortfin Mako Shark
Another amazing shark to be found in the waters +- 25 miles off from False Bay amongst other temperate waters is the Shortfin Mako. Not to be confused with its cousin, the Longfin Mako; which grows to an average of 4.5 meters, the Shortfin Mako grows to a maximum of 2.5 meters weighing in at approximately 100 kilograms.
As is the fact of the Longfin Mako, the Shortfin Mako is also exceptionally fast, the cheetah of the ocean if you will, reaching and surpassing 97 kph (60 mph) for extended periods of time.
Sometimes confused for a smaller version of the Great White Shark, a major identifying factor, are its scary razor sharp and strange looking teeth, which even when the Mako closes its mouth, are still visible! And even though “Flash Gordon” of the seven seas, looks scary, with those teeth, there are no records of any human bites or fatalities caused by the Shortfin Mako. In False Bay, we offer free diving with the Shortfin Mako, so if you have your open water dive certificate, and are able to keep up, you should book dive. Otherwise, book a cage dive and see the Great Whites in action from the safety of our boat and secure cage.
The Longfin Mako, has been recorded as having bitten humans, but only as a result of being caught in nets or on fishing lines, so only in self-defence, and never fatally. As with all of nature, these beautiful creatures are threatened by humans, fished for sport, their skin, fins and teeth, these animals are considered threatened. Again, is there anything we can do to change this status?
Much like the Great White, both Long and Shortfin Makos are known to breach (burst through the water into the air) but unlike the Great White, it is not a hundred percent known why the Makos do it, whether it’s for the “scouting” of food within its immediate area, or to rid itself of parasites, there is no confirmed explanation for this, but whatever the reason, it remains an awe inspiring and incredible sight, if lucky enough to witness it!
The Shortfin Mako, lives between 25 and 35 years, with the females aging faster than the males. Also, interestingly enough, as with other sharks, the recorded lifespans of the Mako, seem to be extended from years ago, could this be nature’s way of fighting against extinction?
Till we meet again, keep that toothy grin!
By Nadine Bentley