Rare Great White Shark Spotted Off Alabama Coast, and the Video Is Eerie

Alabama is going to need a bigger boat.

Lauren Wellbank - Author

May 9 2024, Published 12:23 p.m. ET

The word "shark" can strike fear into the hearts of beachgoers and movie buffs alike. Most of it has to do with the horror stories about the apex predator, which has earned a reputation for being a fast, fearless, and formidable opponent to anyone unlucky enough to cross one's path at feeding time. But, at least some of a shark's scary reputation has to do with the way they can appear out of nowhere, sneaking up on unsuspecting prey (and, apparently researchers) at a moment's notice.

Article continues below advertisement

At least that's what happened recently off the coast of Alabama, when a team of researchers got the surprise of a lifetime as a young great white shark swam into an area they were observing. Keep reading to learn more about the shark, including what researchers say her appearance means about the safety of the Alabama coastline.

Great White Shark
Source: Getty Images
Article continues below advertisement

A great white shark was observed off the coast of Alabama.

In the spring of 2024, the University of South Alabama, Mississippi State University, and Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute were part of the group that captured video of a great white shark of the coast of Alabama while monitoring an artificial reef, according to the University of South Alabama. The shark, who has been affectionately named Miss Pawla after the Alabama University's mascot, appears to be 8 feet long and around 15 years old.

Article continues below advertisement

The first time they spotted the shark was in April, and researchers say they continued to catch glimpses of her for more than a week after they first noticed her. Then, as quick as she appeared, she was gone. But, that doesn't mean that Miss Pawla hasn't left a lasting impression. In fact, researchers are excited about what her presence means, since this is the first time many of them have seen a great white in the area.

Great whites typically hunt in warmer waters like those of the Gulf of Mexico; however, researchers say great whites are beginning to show up in cooler waters, like those you'd find off the coasts of New England and California. It doesn't seem like Miss Pawla is the only one making unusual pit stops outside the traditional hunting grounds of the great white, either.

Article continues below advertisement

This isn't the first time a great white was found in Alabama.

In March 2023, a few anglers got quite the shock when the fish they'd been tangling with turned out to be a great white, according to UPI. They were casting their lines from the beach with a pair of fishing guides when they pulled an 11-foot shark onto the sand. The great white is among a number of protected species of fish in Alabama, and the fishermen were required by federal law to return the shark to the water after reeling it in, which they did after snapping a few photos.

Whether the shark went on to find Miss Pawla or kept swimming in a quest to find quieter waters remains to be seen, but one thing's for sure: experts may not know as much about the hunting grounds of great whites as they once thought.

More from Green Lovers

Latest News News and Updates

    © Copyright 2024 Green Lovers. Green Lovers is a registered trademark. All Rights Reserved. People may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.