Once upon a time, putting your head inside the mouth of a lion was considered the height of bravery (or questionable “entertainment”) but we’re not sure anybody has ever thought it was a good idea to stick their head inside the mouth of a great white shark.
However, should your curiosity be piqued at what the inside of a great white’s mouth looks like, this incredible video will be right up your street.
Luckily the camera lived to tell the tale, revealing the incredible view of the inside of the creature's maw, which is either the coolest thing you’ll see today or nightmare fuel, that’s your call.
Fretz, who was documenting his great white shark conservation expedition on NatGeo’s Open Explorer platform, shared the video that was filmed in the waters off Isla de Guadalupe, Mexico late last year.
The footage was shot using a Trident underwater drone, which gives researchers a less invasive way to get up close and personal with sharks at sea, without putting shark or human in danger.
On this particular day, the sharks seemed especially curious.
“It seems like the sharks want to put up a show for us. Especially in the afternoon, there is a lot of interactions,” Fretz wrote on the blog.
“In fact, one of them got so curious that it tried to bite Trident. Apparently, though, Tridents aren't tasty for sharks, and it got spat out again right away.”
“Typical Great White Shark approach. One moment you don’t see him, and you blink and there this 16-18 ft. 3-4 thousand pound predator is directly in front of you,” Fretz wrote on the blog.
Luckily, after its close encounter, the drone survived a “couple of bite marks on the bumpers” to reveal the once-in-a-lifetime view down the shark’s gullet before it decided the camera was not food. Though not before it captured footage of the shark’s muscles contracting with the effort of attempting to swallow it whole.
Fretz assured everyone the shark was fine afterwards too. In fact, having a chomp is how great whites determine if something is food or not – the test bite determines whether the "prey" is worth pursuing. Despite having 3,000 teeth, they also don't chew their food; they either give an initial bite and wait for the prey to bleed out or clamp down on it and shake it to tear off chunks that are then swallowed whole.
Despite sounding terrifying, great whites are of course much more threatened by humans than we are by them, and footage like this inspires us to keep them how they should be – at a distance, in their natural habitat.