Great White's Movements Leave Scientists Perplexed

You can follow Katharine, and Betsy, online

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 21, 2014 1:35 PM CDT

(Newser) – Two great white sharks, one of which weighs more than a ton, are swimming through the Gulf of Mexico toward Texas ... maybe. Both were tagged by researchers off Cape Cod in August, and you can follow the sharks' path at Ocearch.org, the Houston Chronicle reports. Every time they surface (a fairly unpredictable movement), their tags alert researchers; one also has a Twitter account. Katharine, who weighed 2,300 pounds and measured 14 feet long when she was tagged, last appeared on Wednesday roughly 50 miles south of Cape San Blas in the Florida Panhandle. But the scientists tracking her just don't know if she will "turn west towards Texas or ... turn back and go out into deeper water," Bob Hueter explains to Reuters.

She's swum some 5,000 miles since August, staying near the coast on her journey. Betsy weighed 1,400 pounds and was 12 feet, 7 inches long when she was tagged, but both sharks have probably gotten bigger since then. Betsy was last spotted June 5, some 120 miles west of Sanibel, Fla. "Every animal is causing us to reset what we thought was going on," Hueter tells USA Today. For instance, he tells the Chronicle, experts previously believed the sharks went to the Gulf in the winter, when the waters aren't as warm; the expectation was that they'd summer off Cape Cod, and feed on seals there. (Let's hope they don't run into a 'mystery monster' like the one that recently ate a 9-foot great white shark in Australia.)

One of Katharine's relatives is seen off the coast of New Zealand.
One of Katharine's relatives is seen off the coast of New Zealand.   (AP Photo/Discovery Channel, Jeff Kurr)
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