A video shot off Gansbaii, South Africa of a white shark bumping a cage, after charging a hang bait, has been making the rounds in the (largely tabloid) media today. Some of the more creative news outlets have referred to the shark in the video as “trying to bite through steel bars of diving cage” and “charging the cameraman.” However, the behavior seen in the video does not appear to document anything beyond the shark going after a bait in close proximity to the cage and then bumping the cage after the bait was pulled away. The white shark does get briefly “tangled” with the bars of the cage, but eventually swims off without further incident.
White sharks do not have the ability to swim backwards, so when they are charging a bait momentum will often cause them to continue in the same direction, even if the bait is pulled away from them. Additionally, when attempting to bite prey, white sharks will often roll their eyes backward as a protective measure, rendering them temporarily blind, which can also contribute to collisions if bait is close to cage. The behavior exhibited in this video seems consistent with a shark merely going for a hang bait and subsequently bumping into the cage as a result.