Scientists 'Amazed at the Power of Sharks' Share Photo of Hook Bent by Aggressive Mako

Capable of swimming at speeds of around 35 miles per hour, the mako shark is well-known as one of the fastest and most aggressive animals in the sea, but as well as spectacular speed it also possesses brutal bite power.

A group of researchers has found out first-hand just what sort of damage a mako shark's jaws can do, when one of the animals managed to straighten the hook they were using to capture it, and set itself free.

"We are always amazed at the power of sharks!" the Sulikowski Shark and Fish Conservation Lab posted in an update Instagram on Christmas Eve.

"On [our] last expedition we encountered a mako that straightened the circle hook we were using to capture, tag and release sharks."

mako shark with hook in mouth
Photos taken by the Sulikowski Shark and Fish Conservation Lab show the before and after shots of a hook that was bent out of shape by a mako shark in the Gulf of Maine. Sulikowski Shark and Fish Conservation Lab

Accompanying the update were two pictures. The first shows the mako with the hook in the corner of its mouth, and the second shows the same hook looking bent out of shape after the mako managed to bite its way free.

"The hook on the left was pre mako, hook on the right is after mako. The mako in the photo swam off like a rocket after he straightened the hook!" the caption reads.

"We've seen this before but only in a few species of shark," the Sulikowski Shark and Fish Conservation Lab told Newsweek.

"We've observed this in tiger sharks, hammerheads and mako. The encounter was incredible for sure!

"That mako was incredibly powerful and strong. We were hoping to attach a satellite tag to track his movements but he had other ideas."

The breathtaking encounter took place in the Gulf of Maine, which is home to a wide array of sharks, including spiny dogfish, basking sharks, porbeagles, threshers, great white sharks and shortfin mako, most of which rarely enter coastal areas.

However, Maine's first ever fatal shark attack was recorded just off the coast last summer. Julie Dimperio Holowach, 63, was bitten by a great white off Bailey Island while swimming with her daughter, who managed to escape without injury.

Dr. James Sulikowski, a marine biologist and professor at Arizona State University, who leads the Sulikowski Shark and Fish Conservation Lab, said at the time that residents and visitors should be wary of more great whites entering the waters.

"As the seal population increases, as the competition down near the Cape gets stiffer for food sources, you're going to have more of these sharks move up, as that sort of happens, Maine's got to be prepared," he said.

Last year, a mako shark off the coast of New Zealand delivered the most powerful bite of any shark ever physically measured, and the second most powerful of any animal on Earth, behind the saltwater crocodile.

Using a custom-made "bite-meter" attached to the end of a long rod, researchers recorded a bite measuring 3,000 pounds of pressure, which is more than 13,000 Newtons of force.

That compares with 6,000 Newtons for a bull shark, 10,000 Newtons for a great white, and 17,000 Newtons for a saltwater crocodile.

Correction 01/06/20, 11.15 a.m. ET: This article has been updated to correct the name of the institution where James Sulikowski works.

A mako shark caught by fishermen
A mako shark is caught by fishermen outside Sydney Harbour on August 27, 2006 in Sydney, Australia. Mako sharks are fast and aggressive but also possess a powerful bite, as the researchers' images show. Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images