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Can You Be Friends with a Shark?

Many people see sharks as sea monsters ready to gobble them up at first sight. But the truth of the matter is, sharks are only responsible for ten fatalities per year globally. That is exponentially lower compared to deaths caused by mosquitoes or vehicular accidents. Sharks are some of the most misunderstood creatures. Here’s a story about a beautiful friendship between a diver and a Port Jackson Shark.

Rick Anderson, an Australian diver, befriended a baby Port Jackson Shark in 2010. Whenever she saw him, she would swim up to him and ask for pets and cuddles. Anderson easily remembers her by her distinct markings.

How Did Their Friendship Begin?

In 2010, Rick Anderson was showing some diving students how friendly sea creatures can be. Back then, the female Port Jackson Shark was only about 6 inches long. He approached her carefully to avoid scaring her. By the time she was used to him, she had allowed him to pet her and was comfortable enough to be cradled.

He would do this every time he saw her. The shark then recognized him and would often swim up to him to ask for attention.

She soon got used to me — to the point where she will swim up to me when I’m going past, and tap me on the legs until I hold my arms out for her to lay on for a cuddle. Most divers seeing this for the first time can’t believe it. I don’t feed her or any of the other sharks I play with — I basically treat them like I would a dog. I believe she recognizes either my smell or micro magnetic sensors I put out as a living creature, sharks are very susceptible to that. 

Rick Anderson

(Source: The Dodo)

Are Sharks Misunderstood?

If you grew up in the 80s, chances are all your shark knowledge came from the movie Jaws. Mainstream media has painted this monstrous image of this predator that will forever be embedded in the minds of unknowing viewers. But one way or the other, we must realize that Jaws is not factual. (Source: Scientific American)

The biggest misconception about sharks is that they are all mindless killers lying in wait for people to enter the water so they can be devoured. I have always felt comfortable swimming with these animals.

Rick Anderson

While some sharks are smaller than others, they still ignite fear in anyone who isn’t educated about their true nature. Thanks to how negatively the media plays them, people have been apprehensive about these creatures without considering their crucial role in the environment. People are, in fact, more dangerous to sharks than it is the other way around. Humans kill about 73 million sharks a year.

Anderson hopes that his friendship with this female Port Jackson shark will make people less afraid of these magnificent creatures. He has been running a scuba diving school for over 30 years and has been diving around different shark species such as the nurse sharks, banjo sharks, tiger sharks, bull sharks, hammerheads, and even the most feared great white. (Source: The Dodo)

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