Man ‘petting’ a shark

White Shark and Kayak
Thomas Peschak, Cape Town, South Africa


The video below was shot by NatureFootage contributor, Greg Huglin, on a 35mm film cam at 500 frames per minute. This man petting the shark is the “Sharkman”, also known as Mike Rutzen who is an expert in Great White Sharks.

Contrary to what many people think, this shark is not letting someone pet it or interacting with this person. The membrane you can see coming down over its right eye is a protective mechanism that happens when sharks are about to attack their prey. It protects the eye from being injured by said prey but means they also cannot see. The lifting of the lips away from the teeth is also to keep the lips clear when the shark goes in for the kill. Touching the shark under the snout disorients it.

I come from Great White Shark territory in South Africa and for this reason I never go out of my depth in the sea. Which is stupid really because sharks can attack in very shallow water.  I love them. I think they are beautiful animals and that we are in their territory so I am always against sharks being killed for doing what they do in their world. Nature is cruel but there is a food chain for a reason. And people are not meant to be in the sea.

Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

One thought

  1. I agree with you, they are magnificent creatures!! I have been scuba diving since 2004 and in all of those years only once have I seen a shark. It was a black tip reef shark, I was so excited to see it. He/She was just swimming along minding it’s own business. Of course I did not have a camera with me to get it’s picture. 🙁

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