The word “cuddle” often brings to mind images of teddy bears, not sharks. Sharks are typically associated with their ferocious and man-eating nature. However, the story we’re about to share will undoubtedly surprise you, as it involves a shark and cuddling.
Rick Anderson is a human who is best friends with a Port Jackson shark. This shark buddy is a female with marks on her body. These marks are what allow Rick to identify his buddy. Whenever Rick wants to meet up with his shark friend, he has to dive into the ocean with an oxygen tank tapped onto his shoulder and a regulator in his mouth.
The shark has not been named yet and lives in the ocean off the coast of Nobbys Beach in New South Wales, Australia. Apparently, she always recognizes her human friend. Rick began playing with her many years (more than a decade) ago when she was merely a six-inch-long pup. He approached the creature slowly to make sure he didn’t take her by surprise and then patted her softly.
Talking with us Rick said “I still cuddle with her when I have the opportunity. She is fit healthy and going strong. Always beautiful.”
After she was familiar with him, he then cradled her in his palm and whispered soothingly through his regulator. Rick continued to do this every time during the first season she was there. Throughout the following seasons, she managed to identify him and swim to him for a cuddle and pat. With time the shark got used to Rick and would swim up to him whenever he went past. Then she would tap him on his legs until he cuddled her.
The other divers find this friendship to be unbelievable because Rick doesn’t even feed her. He treats sharks the same way he treats dogs and even plays with other sharks. Rick has been scuba diving for over 30 years now and he runs his own dive school. By sharing his story with the rest of the world, he hopes to reduce the fear that people have towards sharks.
According to him, thinking of sharks as creatures that await in the ocean to consume human flesh, is a common misunderstanding. Rick also dives with other shark varieties such as tiger sharks, bull sharks, hammerhead sharks, banjo sharks, grey nurse sharks, and even great whites. He even admits to feeling comfortable swimming with these magnificent creatures.