The word “cuddle” often conjures up images of teddy bears and cozy blankets. It’s not often associated with sharks, as they are known for their ferocity and reputation as man-eaters. However, the story we’re about to tell you may surprise you – it involves a human and a cuddly shark.
Rick Anderson is a human who has become best friends with a Port Jackson shark. This particular shark is a female with distinctive markings that allow Rick to recognize her. To meet up with his shark friend, Rick has to dive into the ocean with an oxygen tank and regulator. The shark lives off the coast of Nobbys Beach in New South Wales, Australia, and always recognizes Rick when he comes to visit.
Rick first started playing with the shark when she was just a six-inch-long pup. He approached her slowly and patted her softly to avoid startling her. After the shark became familiar with him, Rick would cradle her in his palm and whisper soothingly through his regulator. He did this every time he saw her during her first season there. Over time, the shark got used to Rick and would swim up to him whenever he passed by, tapping him on his legs until he cuddled her.
Rick still cuddles with his shark friend whenever he has the opportunity, and he describes her as fit, healthy, and beautiful. He has been scuba diving for over 30 years and runs his own dive school. Rick treats sharks like he treats dogs, and he even plays with other sharks. He hopes that by sharing his story with the world, he can help reduce people’s fear of sharks.
Rick believes that thinking of sharks as vicious, man-eating creatures is a common misconception. He dives with other shark species, such as tiger sharks, bull sharks, hammerhead sharks, banjo sharks, grey nurse sharks, and even great whites, and he feels comfortable swimming with these magnificent creatures. The other divers are amazed by Rick’s friendship with the shark because he doesn’t even feed her.