GERALDTON, Au - Swimmers watched as the shark swam within feet of the shore.
"When we spotted it, it was about 50 meters off the shore, Brad Tapper told The Western Australian. “We thought it was a diver or something.”
It thrashed in the shallow water before making its back to deeper water.
Two days later, the animal, now dead, washed onto Coronation Beach near the Australian town of Geraldton.
An autopsy on the big shark by Dr. Rory McAuley found a full-grown sea lion stuck in the animal's throat.
“This could explain why the shark was exhibiting such unusual behavior in shallow waters off Coronation Beach,” he wrote in a release.
“It’s possible that the shark was trying to dislodge the blockage.”
“Such a large object may have damaged the shark’s internal organs or impeded water flow into his gills, contributing to his death,” he surmised.
The shark had been tagged the month before, allowing researchers to learn more about the species.