A shark kissed a scientist who was diving off the coast of Cape Town, South Africa.
Marine scientist Kevin Schmidt wasn’t scared, and he sees the experience as something rare and special.
“Sharks in general are portrayed in such a negative light which does not reflect their true demeanor,” he told Metro. “If you see a shark, consider yourself lucky and treasure the moment forever.”
He said the shark wasn’t trying to bite him, but was instead using sense receptors located around its mouth to figure out its surroundings.
In the video, the shark approaches Schmidt and appears to try to nibble Schmidt’s diving goggles before swimming away.
It seems a bigger shark with a bigger mouth may have presented more of a danger if it attempted to do the same thing. Still, Schmidt believes sharks should be looked at differently by people.
“Sensationalism portrays violence and power which overshadows the grace and beauty these creatures possess,” he said.
He explained that the way sharks are portrayed in movies influences misconceptions.
“By ignoring ‘Hollywood instincts’ you can feel their presence in the water and it truly evokes the opposite of fear,” Schmidt added.
He also described what he thought of images from his dive:
“Excitement, wonder, and curiosity — which is clearly mirrored by them [the sharks] in this picture.”
Schmidt works as an environmental consultant in Cape Town.
“On this particular trip, we were located 34km south-west of Cape Point where we hovered in six meters of water for over an hour with four blue sharks and three mako sharks,” he told Metro.
Blue sharks are known for their curiosity and habit of approaching divers and spearfishers, especially if they think there is a chance of getting food, according to the Florida Museum. They are not an aggressive type of shark but may attempt a bite in order to find out if what they see can be eaten.
Some of the documented attacks by blue sharks have occurred after an air or sea disaster, including attacks on sailors floating in the open ocean after a shipwreck.
Out of a total of 13 unprovoked attacks on people by blue sharks, four ended fatally.
Mako sharks have attacked humans without being provoked a total of eight times, according to the Florida Museum, but none were fatal. But the shortfin mako has attacked people 10 times without provocation, with two of those attacks ending fatally.
In December a fisherman from New Zealand was attacked by a six-foot mako shark after catching a kingfish on his spear. Kevin Lloyd said the shark “came out of nowhere” and bit his leg.
“I started stabbing it heaps with my knife and it didn’t quite like that so it turned around and bit my hand,” he told The New Zealand Herald.
Lloyd managed to get the shark off of him with the help of a friend who was in the water with him. He expressed shock since he usually has no problems of this kind.
“I was stunned. I couldn’t believe it was happening. We dive with sharks all the time but this shark we hadn’t seen.”
White sharks, tiger sharks, and bull sharks are the three species most common in shark attacks on humans, according to the Florida Museum. This is due to their large size; shearing, shredding teeth rather than holding teeth; and the fact that they are found in waters where humans frequent.
White sharks have attacked humans 314 times without provocation, tiger sharks have 111 unprovoked attacks on record, while bull sharks have attacked 100 times.
Any shark over six feet in size can present a danger to humans due to its jaw size and teeth structure.