When you think of potential cuddle buddies, the list of nouns you put together would probably not include a shark. Rick Anderson, an Australian native scuba diver, is setting new “cuddle buddy” standards. Whenever Anderson goes scuba diving, he would share a cuddle session with a female Port Jackson shark off the coast of Nobbys Beach in New South Wales.
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Reported by The Dodo, the uncanny friendship formed 7 years ago, when the shark was just a pup about 6 inches long. She doesn’t have a name but the diver recognizes her by her markings.
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“I approached her carefully so as not to spook her, then began to gently pat her. Once she got used to me, I would cradle her in my hand and talk soothingly to her through my regulator,” Anderson told The Dodo. Now, she comes to snuggle up in his arms whenever she sees him.
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Anderson has been scuba diving for 27 years and runs a dive school which provides him the opportunity to say hello to his affectionate shark friend. “Over the following seasons, she’d recognize me and would swim up to me for a pat and cuddle. 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,” described Anderson. “Most divers seeing this for the fist 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.”
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Anderson told The Dodo that he hopes his relationship with this friendly Port Jackson shark will make people less fearful of sharks. In fact, Anderson regularly dives with a variety of shark species such as great white sharks, hammerhead sharks, bull sharks and tiger sharks. These were reported by It’s Nature to be some of the world’s scariest sharks. “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,” he said.
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This 7-year-old adorable Port Jackson shark is basically Anderson’s “sea dog.” The ocean doesn’t seem so vast and scary when you have someone waiting for you to share a cuddle with.
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