Watch a deer swimming off a California beach, circled by a great white shark

A deer swimming is always a bit of a surprising sight.

It's even more surprising when that deer is swimming in the ocean, a decent distance from the shore.

And it's even more surprising when the deer is, apparently, being circled by a great white shark.

That's what happened earlier this week near a Santa Cruz beach, according to a researcher who caught some of the bizarre sight on video.

In the midst of performing a white shark field survey near Seacliff State Beach, the founder of the Pelagic Shark Research Foundation, Sean Van Summeran, saw a female deer swimming in circles Wednesday. He posted a video of the encounter to YouTube the next day.

Though only a glimpse of its tail can be seen near the end of the video, there does indeed appear to be an adolescent great white shark (Van Sommeran estimates 9 feet in length) swimming near his boat and the deer.

That shark was "noted to be orbiting around the struggling land mammal," Van Sommeran says in the YouTube description, adding that "nobody was injured or killed" and the deer managed to escape.

In a comment below the video, the researcher speculates that the deer got "spooked" somewhere along the road near Seacliff, leading her to flee to the beach and attempt an ocean-bound escape. A surprising fact to some people: Deer are capable swimmers.

KSBW reports that about 15 sharks have been spotted in the Santa Cruz area in the past week. Remarkable aerial video taken a few days ago shows a kayaker, marine biologist Giancarlo Thomae, fall into the water with a large great white shark in plain view nearby. The shark did not approach Thomae, though, and he told ABC6 that he did his best to stay calm and get back on the kayak.

According to shark experts, Seacliff beach is a hot spot for sharks every summer, so those dozen-plus sharks will likely stick around through August. However, the population is mostly made up of young pups who "really are just kind of lounging around," Van Sommeran told SFGate around this time last year.

Sharks attack humans just 19 times on average per year with just one fatality every two years, according to National Geographic. There appears to be no readily available info about shark-on-deer violence, though.

Santa Cruz is located on the north coast of Monterey Bay (the city of Monterey is on the south coast).

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