Nat Geo WILD: The Whale That Ate Jaws

Off the coast of San Francisco, an unexpected killing challenged the great white shark’s supremacy as the ultimate predator when one became prey to a killer whale.  Whale-watchers witnessed a stunning act of nature as a killer whale rose to the water’s surface with a great white in its mouth and held it there for 15 minutes.  Even more amazing, biologist Peter Pyle was nearby and able to get underwater footage of two whales feeding on the shark.  They ate the liver and then departed the scene, leaving the rest to the birds.  The incident raised questions, such as how did the killer whale take the huge shark without a struggle?  And why did they only eat the liver?

The Whale That Ate Jaws starts at 8P et/pt as part of the day-long marathon leading up to the premiere of Shark Attack Experiment Live at 9P et/pt.

Digital Media Content Producer for National Geographic Channels
  • Katrina

    Why do they keep using the term “killer whale” instead of orca? I thought it had been long established that using a misleading name spreads inaccurate ideas about the character and behavior of these amazing creatures.

  • AM

    Not to be a science dork or anything, but a killer whale (aka: Orca) is not a whale at all. It’s the largest member of the dolphin family. 😀

  • audas

    Because thats exactly what they are Katrina – whale killers, hence killer whales. They eat whales.

  • Dan


    Well this clip is about the whales killing sharks and stingrays, so I think the name “Killer Whale” is appropriate in this case.

  • youmna

    yes he is the largest member of a dolphin family but still THAT WAS PRETTY AMAZING!!! and looking at the size of him he really earned the title whale 😀 not a dolphin if i may say so 🙂
    killer whales are great but I’A HUGE GREAT WHITES FAN so they’re the man 🙂 😀

  • felipe

    don’t you think that as food may come less they will be force to attack other prey not normally in their diet,…they have very good weapons and are very smart..they hunt in packs

  • Steve

    Katrina is a absolutely right. Why is it that the passengers refer to them as white sharks and orca their correct term yet the narrator says the one thing that makes you hate them.? Killer whale and great white connotates what? White shark and orca connotates nature without stating if they’re good or bad. I’m completely ashamed that that the channel that promotes nature doesn’t even bother to call them by their actual name for effect. Lost a household viewer. Sad you can’t even be objective.

  • Carol

    Really disappointed in the episode ” The whale that ate Jaws” It’s extremely disappointing that the civilians and non-marine biologists on the boat continuously refer to the amimals as Orka and White shark while the supposed naturalists narrating the documentary referred to them in negative and unscientific terms, which was Killer whale and Great White. I thought you we’re supposed to educate instead of using terms to terrify and sensationalize. We get enough from the news and media, I dont expect it from a science and nature channel. It used to be the reason we watched Nat Geo, until now. Our family is thankful for Internet TV, and don’t rely on your channel for our science and nature facts.
    The audience that watches or used to watch your network deserves better.

  • Ruchi

    @ Katrina, Steve and Carol

    I am quite amazed by what you guys had to say. Orcas ARE called Killer Whales, it IS one of their names, because they get the name from being whale killers. They a member of the dolphin family and whales are on their regular menu. Hence the name. There is too much sensationalizing going around in the media these days, I totally agree. But in this instance, Nat Geo has done no such thing, at least not in their use of ‘Killer whales’ to refer to Orcas.

    @ Carol, what is wrong with calling a great white shark a great white? That is the common term for great whites.
    Maybe the sensationalism was more in the title “The whale that ate JAWS(?)” Why jaws? Why not just great white?

    But apart from that. Cannot accuse NatGeo or the narrator of sensationalism for referring Killer Whales and great whites as such.

  • Thomas Dietz

    Loved the show! Enjoy Killer Whales or Orcas, however you want to call them. Didn’t come on to debate the names for these magnificent creatures, for I have more important things going on. Thanks NatGeo for a great family show.

  • Tom

    Was the shark already dead when the whales “attacked” and “ate” it? Did that ever come up before you went and made an wentire show about it. Idiots.

  • Jack

    My problem is the the fact that the shark from Jaws is not called “Jaws”. Goddamnit.

  • […] Sharks are ancient, fascinating creatures that deserve respect, not fear. Though if you want to see something really cool, watch the 2011 National Geographic documentary The Whale That Ate Jaws. […]

  • King

    Really……. I know this comment post is old but why are you folks getting tangled up with terms that MAN came up with instead of focusing on the awesome nature that was witnessed??? We say killer whales and orca here, and great whites are great whites…… however, the point here is skewed sensationally with everyone getting wrapped around the axle about terms (whether they be proper or “common”) I still the respect for the marine animals being portrayed. just my .02

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