The Greenland shark is an opportunistic predator that will eat just about anything that comes across its path, either dead or alive. However, we believe that it is primarily a scavenger.
Verified stomach contents
Fish: Arctic char, Atlantic halibut, Atlantic salmon, capelin, cod, eelpout, eels, Greenland halibut (turbot), grenadier, haddock, herring, lumpfish, lycodes, pollack, sculpins, sebastes, skates and other sharks, spotted wolffish.
Mammals: beluga, narwhal, porpoise, seals, and other animals including a dog, horse, reindeer, moose, and white (polar) bear remains.
Invertebrates: crustaceans, gastropods, jellyfish, octopus, sea stars (sun stars & brittle stars), squid, urchins, whelk and other snails.
Others: Bird remains, kelp.
Mammals: The Greenland shark has reportedly been seen by scientists, hunting caribou in the manner of a crocodile ambush at river mouths in the Canadian Arctic. Note: Although this much-publicised anecdote comes from a credible source, it has never been substantiated. More than likely, the Greenland shark feeds on drowned caribou that fell through the ice while migrating.
Contrary to what was reported by the media in 2008 and had since been propagated via social networks, global warming is also unlikely to help the Greenland shark attack bears. Reuters: Polar bear eaten by shark. Who’s top predator?
“There is little chance that a Greenland shark could predate a live adult white (polar) bear unless it were injured or seriously ill. The Greenland shark simply cannot afford the risk of injury nor the expenditure of energy required to kill such a large and dangerous animal, with or without the help of global warming. There is far easier prey to be found.”
— Jeffrey Gallant | St. Lawrence Shark Observatory