These jaw-some images show what it’s like for unlucky fish to look inside the mouth of a tiger shark just before travelling down to its belly.
Captured in amazing detail, the unique pictures show the alien-like anatomy of the shark and reveal rows upon rows of razor sharp teeth and white-coloured gills.
The incredible photographs were taken when a curious shark began to inspect the camera of British-born photographer, Adam Hanlon, 46, during an expedition in the Bahamas.
After sensing electronic impulses omitted by Adam’s camera, the inquisitive creature began to gently mouth at the camera’s housing allowing him capture the unusual perspective.
With sensory organs known as the ampullae of Lorenzini, the shark uses its mouth as an electroreceptor to ‘feel’ out its surroundings.
Luckily for Mr Hanlon, the local fishermen have created an astonishing relationship with the sharks that sees them reward the shark for good behaviour, allowing extraordinary encounters to occur.
He said: ‘I was lucky to be able to get my camera set up as the sharks made their approach.
‘They are pretty slow and cautious as they come in, and by reading their behaviour, you can predict when they are showing interest in the camera.
‘Many sharks use the sensory organs in their mouths and noses to gather information about their environments.’
‘It’s likely the sharks sense the camera’s electronics and attempt to find out what they are,’ said Mr Hanlon, who grew up in South Africa and lead a five-day dive for his underwater photography resource Wetpixel.
‘This can sometimes involve them gently mouthing things that are unfamiliar or that they are interested in.’
The divers on the Bahamas expedition encountered both tiger, lemon and reef sharks, which they lured by releasing ‘tasty smelling’ water into the sea.
A crate of food was then brought down to the ocean floor to keep the sharks around while photographers in scuba gear took photos on dives that lasted hours.
Mr Hanlon, who shot the inside of the animal’s mouth on the expedition’s final day, said that the sharks didn’t mean him any harm when they exposed him to the image that their prey sees right before the end.
‘They’re not attempting to bite but rather trying to feel the camera to see what it is,’ he said.
‘The sharks aren’t fed if they exhibit negative behaviours, like nosing at the bait box or approaching from behind.’
hile lemon and reef sharks don’t normally grow to more than 10 feet, tiger sharks are often as long as 14 feet, with the largest specimens reaching 25 feet.
Tiger sharks are second in attacks on humans to great whites, but Mr Hanlon assured his divers that they were not in danger. Their jaws are powerful enough to crack sea turtles’ shells, according to National Geographic.
‘Sharks are highly intelligent and follow the normal rules for animal behaviour, they figure out quickly that if they are to be fed, they need to follow certain ‘rules,’ he said.
Mr Hanlon, who has been diving since the mid-1980s and owns a dive school in Lancaster, England, was happy that he got to see a different angle on the dangerous sea creatures.
‘It was an amazing experience, I was glad I got to get such unusual looking photographs,’ he said.
The diver led the Bahamas expedition for Wetpixel earlier this month, with divers from the US, UK, China and Finland, including Olympic medal-winning cyclist Chris Boardman.