This year, Shark Week promises to give an up-close look at what life is like for dolphins who share the water with sharks. In “Sharks vs. Dolphins: Face Off” Dr. Mike Heithaus breaks down the relationship between the two species.
“I think [viewers] should expect a really exciting show," Heithaus told FOX411. "You will see how sharks and dolphins co-exist and interact in the oceans. They are going to see amazing footage of sharks and dolphins interacting and they are going to learn about how it is a shark can actually manage to attack a dolphin.”
The marine ecologist explained why dolphins are getting their close-up during Shark Week this year.
“Dolphins and sharks are two of the top predators in the ocean,” he said. “People don’t really often think about them together; we think about dolphins and we think about sharks in different parts of the ocean and I think the inner play between the two will be really fascinating for the viewers. They are going to see science and animals that they wouldn’t have expected.”
Since 1988, Shark Week has been a popular programing block for the Discovery Channel. Heithaus isn't surprised viewers keep tuning in for the annual special.
“I am a little biased because I think sharks are amazing animals, and I think there is part of that. I think at some level it is kind of the popularity of dinosaurs, big predators are just amazingly fascinating to us. There is a little bit of that fear and fascination, and I think that Shark Week takes you inside the lives of these animals, and you are learning about them and seeing spectacular things and I think that’s the interest and fascination with them.”
He said viewers will see the tense interactions between the sharks and dolphins on the show.
“For a lot of species they ignore one another but there are some sharks where dolphin is on the menu; and so dolphins have to be really careful and not end up a meal,” he said. “For years people thought dolphins were too smart and could out smart sharks and sharks would have no chance, but it turned out there are some sharks like Tiger sharks that are pretty good at catching dolphins. The dolphins have to use lots of ways to stay safe. They have to be sure to go to areas where there are not many sharks even if there is tons of food there.”
“Sharks vs. Dolphins: Face Off” premieres June 29th on Discovery.
You can follow Blanche Johnson on Twitter @blancheFOXLA.