Do you love sharks? Check out the friendly sharks swimming under the sea from amazing whale sharks to petting leopard sharks!
5 We’re friends, not food – and both sides can say that
Photo courtesy of San Francisco’s Aquarium of the Bay, this beautiful snapshot shows one of many reasons why people are fearing sharks less and trying to protect them more. We are not a shark’s prey of choice to begin with, and these critters can actually help us a lot. Swimming with sharks is a booming area of sea and ocean tourism, and diving instructors, marine biologists and conservationists around the world are working hard to educate underwater adventurers about proper shark society etiquette. Not only do they boost the economy, they are a major inspiration for engineering as well: scientists are hot on the trail of creating artificial shark skin.
4 The largest fish in the sea
Gentle giants of the ocean, the whale shark, also known as the largest fish in the sea. Gorgeous creatures with spotted backs and white bellies. You don’t need to fear their wide gaping mouths they only feed on plankton. Good news for us, since whale sharks are a welcomed tourists attraction. They are becoming endangered and the more people get to view these massive creatures up close the better the odds that people will want to help save them. Little is known about how the whale sharks migrate or what their mating patterns are, but it was recently discovered that they eat small fish as well as plankton! If you look at this still taken from a video captured by Conservation International in Indonesia you can see a whale shark with high unusual behaviour. A fishing net that has a hole in it has attracted the whale shark and it starts to out the little bait fish like a baby! It’s really incredible.
Fun fact: Individual whale sharks can be identified by the spots on their side!
3 There’s always that one friend that stands out
This is one of those rare moments of interspecies contact that leaves all the netizens everywhere gaping in awe and cuteness overload. The shark in this picture is a tiger shark, one of the most powerful underwater predators known to us, and affectionately rubbing its nose we can see Jim Abernethy, an adventurous scuba diver. This encounter happened off the coast of the Bahamas, and this particular shark is pretty famous for its friendliness. Her name is Tarantino. People who go swimming with sharks as a tourism gig aren’t likely to hang out with tiger sharks, because that’s just a bit too risky for inexperienced divers. They’re right behind the great whites in jumpiness, so it takes a fair few years of training before you can go and strike up a mute conversation with one of them. Tarantino, however, is a famous exception – totally used to divers, and just loves the petting and affection!
2 Smile for the camera, everybody!
Allie Johnstone of Raggamuffin Tours featured this photo on their blog, illustrating a tour of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve where people can come and visit an adorable group of nursing sharks. Although a shark that lives in a man-run marine reserve will obviously be way more tame than a wild one of the same kind, nursing sharks are still among the species that are the most peaceful around humans. They’re the ocean’s couch potatoes. They chill at the bottom, waiting for night time to munch on a fish or squid, and are completely passive towards people unless they’re directly attacked, which makes them ideal buddies for beginner scuba divers and first-visit shark enthusiasts. Their mouths do have a pretty strong suction ability, though, so you probably shouldn’t lean in for a kiss. Maybe stick to high fives like Eli Martinez editor of Shark Diver Magazine does with friendly lemon sharks.
1 The friendly shark that saved a fisherman’s life
Back in 2012, a sea sailing was made a lot less terrible by a shark. Instead of eating a lost fisherman, the shark actually saved his life – just another reason for us to save the sharks in return. Toakai Teitoi from the island of Maiana and his brother in law, Ielu Falaile, were cast adrift in the Pacific Ocean for almost three whole months. Mr. Teitoi’s brother in law was overtaken with dehydration in early July, and Mr. Teitoi himself survived alone on rainwater up to September 11th, when he was woken up in the middle of the night by a nudging at his wooden boat. There was a shark circling him and bumping its nose against the hull. Mr. Teitoi looked up to see the stern of a ship and the crew watching him through binoculars. As soon as he started waving at them, the shark up and left, and Mr. Teitoi was taken aboard and treated, and made a full recovery in time – although he says, for his next trip, he’ll take a plane. If that shark hadn’t of woken him up he might have never been saved.
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