ST GEORGE ISLAND, Fla. — It looks like even some of the ocean's fiercest predators want to enjoy the warm Florida waters this Spring Break.
An 11-foot, 7-inch great white shark named Maple made her way to the Gulf of Mexico this week, according to ocean research non-profit OCEARCH. She was pinged about 43 miles southeast of St. George Island just before 10:45 a.m. on March 6.
A "ping" happens when the animal's tag breaks the surface of the water, OCEARCH researchers explain.
Weighing in at a whopping 1,264 pounds, Maple is a sub-adult female. She's named after one of Canada's national emblems because she was first tagged by the OCEARCH team in September 2021 off the coast of Nova Scotia.
Since then, the shark has traveled more than 9,000 miles, including up and down the east coast of the U.S. and around Florida.
And, apparently, Maple is somewhat of a snowbird. The past two seasons, OCEARCH says she's spent much of her winter swimming around the Gulf of Mexico.
If you happen to see Maple out in the gulf, you'll recognize her right away. She has a distinctive wound on the left side of her body that researchers believe came from an interaction with a larger great white shark.
"This interaction was possibly an example of dominance behavior. It is not uncommon for sharks to show their dominance over a smaller animal of their species by delivering a significant but non-fatal bite," researchers wrote.