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Whale found with savage bite marks, 18 inches wide. The culprit was 14 feet long.

This is the photo the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy published of the whale’s bite marks.
This is the photo the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy published of the whale’s bite marks.

A 25-foot whale found floating in the Atlantic with a series of savage bite marks created a mystery off the coast of Maine this week.

It was identified by the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy as a minke. That is one of the world’s largest mammals, with a potential to grow 35 feet long, according to Whale-World.com.

The gnawed carcass was found five miles off Old Orchard Beach, said the conservancy. And whatever did the biting had to be big, experts thought, if not fearless.

The culprit?

Shark researcher James Sulikowski announced Friday afternoon that it had been the work of a great white shark, according to the Bangor Daily News.

A big one.

Sulikowski, a University of New England professor, says the bite radius was 18 inches across, suggesting the shark may have been 14 feet long, reported the Press Herald.

The bites occurred after the whale was dead, meaning it was a scavenging rather than killing, said the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy.

What killed the whale was not explained.

Officials with the University of New England said the whale was reported Thursday by commercial fishermen, said the Bangor Daily News.

The discovery came at a time when white sharks have been congregating in the northeast for mating, including a known mating site off Cape Code and a suspected mating site off Nova Scotia.

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Mark Price: 704-358-5245, @markprice_obs
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