Scuba divers returning from a deep dive in Belize were making their way along the shallow grass bed to their dive boat. As they finished their dive, they met up with an adorable baby nurse shark who approached them much like a lost puppy. These sharks are docile and harmless, occasionally curious, but they have no reason to sit and look at a diver expectantly as this one did. It paused and looked right at divemaster, Danny, waiting at his fins as if he would issue a command or dish out a treat. When he began to swim away, the shark moved under him as if it wanted something and he couldn't resist the urge to give it a little scratch on the back.
As the divers continued, the baby shark followed along as if he were a stray looking to be adopted by a family. It swam under Dave and seemed to be looking for attention. As Dave swam on and met up with Kristy, the shark followed. It was like he was completely at home with his new human friends and was ready to follow them all the way home.
Nurse sharks are abundant in Belize. They can reach a size of approximately ten feet and can weigh much more than a full grown man. Powerful swimmers and graceful in the water, they are no threat to people. Although they possess impressive teeth, as any shark does, their mouths are actually designed for feeding on scraps and smaller prey than people. They are not known to attack humans, except if provoked or treated carelessly. Divers find them to be a welcome sight as they occasionally follow a group from a distance and act like curious tagalongs.
Baby sharks are seldom seen and this one is smaller than most people are familiar with. Its friendly nature is also exceptional as they don't usually follow divers so closely and they also don't usually seem to want interaction.
When careful and respectful, an interaction with wildlife can be the highlight of a dive for scuba enthusiasts. Such encounters should be kept to a minimum and should also be completely on the animal's terms. It is not only dangerous, but it is also unfair to make an animal more comfortable with people than they should be. Such habits can lead to disaster for all.
In this case, the divers had very little interaction with the shark before choosing to ignore it as much as possible. He still followed the divers until they reached their boat. His unusual behavior was a treat for these shark lovers.
Despite their ill reputation, we can’t ignore the facts that sharks are a masterpiece. They have lithe bodies that are able to thread waters despite their weight. And if you think that they are slowed down by their built, think again. They are so fast that escaping them requires a certain amount of skill, and an enormous amount of luck. It’s only normal that we are afraid of them.
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