Baby nurse shark approaches scuba diver for a boop on the nose

Published January 21, 2022 7,995 Views $6.62 earned

Nurse sharks are often called the puppy dogs of the ocean. They are sharks, but they are completely harmless to people, unless they are treated unwisely. These sharks have a curious and gentle disposition and their mouths are downturned, similar to the mouth of a catfish. more like a catfish. But these sharks do have a mouth full of teeth in many rows and they are capable of biting if they are handled or feel threatened. Surprisingly, these sharks are ranked number 4 for bites on humans, simply because people mistakenly believe they can be touched or fed by hand.

This nurse shark is a juvenile and it was following these scuba divers along the reef in Belize. When they stopped to look at creatures in the sand, the shark was immediately curious and it swam over to see what they were looking at. The shark headed straight for this scuba diver and his camera. To his surprise, the shark swam straight into his open palm, resting its nose briefly before turning and calmly swimming away. It's possible that the shark wanted to smell the diver's hand and it's also possible that the shark simply wanted to make contact.

Allowing the shark to choose the terms of this interaction reduced the chance of a mishap, especially in the case of such a small shark. But it is still advisable to maintain a respectful distance from all wildlife to be on the safe side.

Nurse sharks typically hunt at night, rooting through the sand for small fish and crustaceans. They inhale prey with by rapidly creating suction. They are capable of producing a more powerful suction than any other known vertebrate.

Nurse sharks are just one of the endless number of fascinating animals that one might encounter on the reef. Scuba diving opens up a whole new world of beauty and mystery for the lucky few who are adventurous enough to slip beneath the waves to explore.

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