A female Port Jackson shark from Australian waters sees professional diver Rick Anderson as a friend, not a meal.
Port Jackson sharks (Heterodontus portusjacksoni) are a bottom-dwelling species whose main foods are shelled molluscs and sea urchins. They are not considered to be a danger to humans, which is why diver Rick Anderson felt no trepidation in interacting with them. “About seven years ago,” relates Anderson, “I came across a few baby Port Jackson sharks and decided to demonstrate how beautiful and friendly they were to my dive students.”
Now don't try this at home (or on vacation), kids: Anderson has been diving for about 27 years (18 years as a professional) and over that time he's interacted with many different shark species both large and small.
Getting back to our shark's tale... Anderson cautiously approached one of the baby Port Jackson sharks and “gently started patting and talking to her”... crikey, he's the Shark Whisperer! One of the young sharks, a female, “seemed to enjoy the interaction so over a number of dives during the season I would dive in the area so we could interact.”
“From that point on,” adds Anderson, “whenever we came across each other she would approach me for a pat and cuddle after not seeing each other for months at a time when she migrated." Yes, sharks do migrate – Port Jackson sharks swim south along Australia's east or west coasts in summer and return north to breed in winter.
“It's an awesome feeling to bond with a wild animal,” states Anderson, though the fact there's nothing to fear from this species of shark must make the whole bonding thing a whole lot easier. (via WENN)