A battered great white shark has been branded the world's 'toughest' after it was filmed covered in scars and bite marks after years of battles.
The giant predator was spotted swimming near the Neptune Islands in South Australia, an area thought to be home to an estimated 1,000 great whites.
Underwater cinematographer Dean Spraakman, who captured the incredible footage during an expedition in January, said the 11ft male was incredibly 'friendly'.
He claimed the team could not be certain of what may have caused these marks as no one had come across a shark so badly injured before.
Dean said they initially thought the scars might have been done by boat propellers or perhaps the shark had been caught in the tuna pens in the area but they quickly dismissed both theories.
He told the Sun: “No one has ever seen a shark in a condition like this before.
“We see sometimes down there the white sharks tracking stingrays because they hunt and eat them and we thought they chase them into shallow reef areas where it’s quite sharp and it might get stuck and cause that sort of damage.
“You can only speculate what happened there and to be honest no one knows or ever really know what causes that sort of damage to a shark but the poor guy had a bit of a hard time I think.
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“I noticed he had scars on him but I didn’t realise to what length until I reviewed the footage later.
“He was very calm and coming close and quite curious which was great.
“He was really friendly, just very calm and wasn’t aggravated from everything he’s been through.
“He came very close, within an arm’s reach from me- sometimes when you get a good shark like that, they just want to come and look you in the eye, just have a really good look at who you are."
However, National Geographic explorer Prof Yannis Papastamatiou says some of the marks might also have been caused by a fight with another shark.
The told the Sun: "Females are often heavily scarred from mating behaviour but males can get bitten as well during dominance interactions between sharks e.g. a larger shark may want a smaller shark and dominate the smaller individual with a non-fatal warning bite.
"Some of the scarrings around the face may also be caused by their prey such as seals."
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