Hand-feeding a great white shark

This fearless lady pets a Great White like a dog as she hand-feeds it fish. [Video link: National Geographic via Metafilter]


  1. This is only evidence that you shouldn’t anthropomorphize animals. Dolphins aren’t smiling because they are happy, it’s just the way their mouths are shaped. Sharks are cruel, vicious monsters. They are simply animals behaving the way they always have.

    1. Just as we shouldn’t anthropomorphize sharks neither should we wholesale demonize them as “cruel, vicious monsters” — especially when in the greater scheme of things there is no more cruel, monsterous and vicious a species than us humans.

      1. Just as we shouldn’t anthropomorphize sharks neither should we wholesale demonize them as “cruel, vicious monsters” — especially when in the greater scheme of things there is no more cruel, monsterous and vicious a species than us humans.

        Are you commenting on the post or pitching a script for Avatar 2?

  2. Reminds me of the guy who got killed by a bear while filming a documentary about how bears are nice and peaceful.

  3. You say “fearless” and I say, “That is the stuff of my nightmares for the love of god no please no no no if you fall in to the water or if you accidentally catch your hand on a tooth then you will be closer to that shark than you ever could have imagined oh no this is disaster waiting to happen.” Of course, Great Whites are this thing on earth I fear the most. I mean, I used to think that when I was the only kid left in the pool, it was because the sharks were coming out. So…

    1. When I was a kid my local pool had bars set into one side underwater, behind which was the wave machine.
      I would never put my feet anywhere near the bars as there were *obviously* sharks behind them!

  4. My first thought watching this was what the hell is she wearing? Is that how she dresses for a research expedition?

    My second thought was, yeah, jump in and let’s see you not get eaten.

  5. The best friend of a med student that I used to work with disappeared, leaving a thin rim of surfboard from a single bite of an ~ 20 foot great white. You can see a photo at the California Academy of Sciences. The same med student told me how he was diving at Asilomar and, after getting hit with a big wave of muddy turbulence, saw a half an elephant seal bitten clean through. I’m sticking to the swimming pool.

  6. Not just any “fearless lady”. Thats the legendary Australian diver Valerie Taylor. She’s been around for years. She started diving in 1956. 70 now. “I had a feeling it wouldn’t bite me”. Uh huh.

  7. You shouldn’t anthropomorphize animals, says Anon — “sharks are cruel, vicious monsters”.

      1. I’m pretty sure it was a typo and was supposed to read “Sharks *aren’t* cruel, vicious monsters.”

    1. Seems to me this is a typo. Reading the entire comment, surely the author *meant* “Sharks are[n’t] cruel, vicious monsters. They are simply animals behaving the way they always have.”

  8. He’s so sweet and gentle he’ll eat off your hand — clear up to the elbow.

  9. “The thing is … the first couple of times, you just take the fish. Maybe hang out at the surface, let the ape creature touch you. Yeah, I know that sounds gross, but work with me on this. Next day, they come back with a bigger floaty thing, full of more ape creatures. And you come cruising up, play with the fish a bit, act all friendly. They all want to touch you, so they all crowd to the edge of the floaty thing. And that is when the rest of us come up fast from deep water and we all go for it. Best. Feeding. Frenzy. EVAH.”

  10. I used kayak off the coast of Pacifica in Northern California, and it was always an eerie feeling to look down into that deep gray water and realize I was not at the top of the food chain.

    1. Antropomorphising is to be guarded against, but I do believe those interspecies exchanges of goodwill/energy happen. Heck, I get those moments peering in at the fish in both my mechanic’s and dentist’s waiting room aquariums–some of those fish are total characters.
      ..did i just undermine my credibility?

  11. Y’all know me. You know how I earn a livin’. I’ll catch this bird for you, but it ain’t gonna be easy. Bad fish; not like going down the pond chasin’ bluegills ‘n’ tommycods. This shark; swallow you whole. Little shakin’, little tenderizin’, an’ down you go. And we gotta do it quick, that’ll bring back your tourists, put all your businesses on a payin’ basis. But it’s not gonna be pleasant. I value my neck a lot more than three thousand bucks, chief. I’ll find him for three, but I’ll catch him, and kill him, for ten. But you’ve gotta make up your minds. If you want to stay alive, then ante up. If you want to play it cheap, be on welfare the whole winter. I don’t want no volunteers, I don’t want no mates, there’s just too many captains on this island. $10,000 for me by myself. For that you get the head, the tail, the whole damn thing.

  12. It appears to me that more than a few of the posters here could stand to view Rob Stewart’s “Sharkwater” documentary. Sharks are predators, but they are not the most dangerous of predators. The fact that they live in an environment where humans are particularly helpless and vulnerable adds considerably to their fearsome quality.

  13. The punchline? The hungry shark lunges up onto the platform and bites one of her legs off to the knee. In shock, the woman drags herself up to the deck, bleeding profusely. When the sharks comes up again, looking for more to eat, the woman asks the shark “Why? I had a feeling about you. I thought we had an understanding??”

    To which the shark replied “Lady, you KNEW I was a shark.”

  14. Jaws ~ Opening Credits & Chrissie’s Death ~ Chrissie says, “C’mon in the water!” ~ viewer discretion is advised.

  15. No, sharks aren’t cruel viscious monsters. But Great Whites sure as hell are. You see one of them in the water and you are dead.

    1. Really? /checks pulse, counts limbs, all present and correct.

      I dive regularly in what the media like to refer to as “Shark-Infested Waters”. I’ve seen bull sharks, tiger sharks and GWS (along with several other smaller species of shark) while diving and I’m still here. So are my buddies.

      Unlike the Taylors, I’m not an expert but I do know that the chances of getting bit are pretty damned slim (coconuts kill more people than sharks) and can be further reduced by some basic study of shark behaviour (avoid breakfast/dinner times and murky water).

      There’s some risk involved with diving. Compared to the dangers involved with spending time in an element that can’t sustain human life without special equipment, getting eaten is way, way down on the list of things to worry about. Besides, I’m far more likely to die in a car-crash on my way to the boat than be lunch for an apex predator.

      My tip? Take a camera diving to prevent sharks coming near you. It seems to work for me. Every time I look for some decent shots, they’re nowhere to be seen. :-/

      1. I’m a diver too, and I’ve dived with plenty of sharks. Never a Great White though. Very interested in your experience diving with them, please tell me more.

      2. There might actually be a reason the sharks don’t come out for your camera, depending on what kind you’re using. When I was training for my scuba license, one of the experts mentioned that scuba divers aren’t generally bothered by sharks, because they don’t like the electrical signals given off by the equipment.

        I can’t claim to be an expert, but considering that sharks are highly electroreceptive, it sounds plausible.

  16. Gotta stand up for the sharks:
    a) Great White attacks often seem to be the result of a surfer or abalone diver looking like a seal. Nothing cruel, vicious, or monstrous about that–just unfortunate.
    b) Obviously, humans are a much bigger threat to Great Whites than vice-versa.

    That having been said, I live six blocks from Santa Monica Bay (a known hangout for juvenile Great Whites), and wouldn’t feel comfortable swimming in it. (Thanks “Jaws.”) Make mine chlorine, thanks.

  17. You still don’t get it, do you? He’ll find her! That’s what he does! That’s ALL he does! You can’t stop him! He’ll wade through you, reach down her throat and pull her fuckin’ heart out!

    It was cute when she petted it on its nose.

  18. It’s funny, all the “Jaws” references. Y’all do realize that Ron and Valerie Taylor provided the live shark footage used in that movie, right? If Valerie Taylor doesn’t know what she’s doing, who the hell does?

    I’m going to go out on a limb and say if it had been Ron Taylor hand feeding a shark, there’d be less condescension in the comments here. Think about that, boingers, would you?

    And Rob Beschizza, she’s not a nameless “lady.” She’s a world-renowned expert on white shark behavior.

  19. I felt she was nuts because of the fact that she was on the outside of the boat with her feet exposed. And then she had the shark hooked and was bending over!one tug and she’s dinner!

  20. You see one of them in the water and you are dead.

    I sure am – dead of petrified fear, even if all it wants to do is blow bubbles at me.

    Yes, Jaws. Nice going, Spielberg.

  21. If you can see a great white, it’s not trying to eat you. It’s the one swimming up from the murky depths beneath you at 40k/hr that’s trying to eat you.

  22. My memory and my current sensory input are in severe dissonance over here.

    I know the name Valerie Taylor, shark scientist, all that, but then when I hear this woman on the video say that she and the shark have an understanding, I think a scientist could never be so naive, and so silly.

    Is it possible this woman is saying these things to pull our leg? I surely can’t believe them.

    1. “then when I hear this woman on the video say that she and the shark have an understanding, I think a scientist could never be so naive, and so silly.”

      Yes, it’s utterly impossible that in her decades of studying shark behavior, that she might have developed an intuition about said behavior.

      Your worldview needs a little more soul.

  23. Look there’s 50 comments by this point, so I’m not gonna read through all of them to see if this has been mentioned before, sorry if it has been. But you shouldn’t be feeding great white sharks at all, this doesn’t prove that they’re gentle souls. Merely that they’re wild animals who’ll take a handout, perhaps smart enough to realize it stands to gain more from not eating her. But you’re not supposed to feed wild animals, they begin to depend on people, and will seek them out in hopes of food. If everyone did it, they’d start showing up near beaches all the time and probably attack people more if they don’t get the free food they expect.

  24. I guess it’s a sign of changing times, but it’s sad to see someone as eminent as Valerie Taylor associated with such tosh. Any predator feeding is stupid, and associating “feelings” with an animal like this is idiotic. They are spectacular animals, and not evil by any means, but are certainly dangerous in the wrong circumstances, which this behaviour encourages.

    Be interested how she felt about her association with Jaws nowadays, as that movie is unique in it’s appalling impact on a species; probably responsible for more shark deaths and destruction of shark species than any other factor bar Chinese soup.

    1. I has sort of thought that Jaws was what awakened public interest in sharks and led to conservation efforts. It’s not like you wanted any of those characters to survive.

  25. dear humans,

    stop projecting your emotions onto wild animals, especially when they are so dangerous…

    the woman who was torn apart by the chimp she had raised from a baby never thought the animal would harm her either

  26. Here doggy, good boy, good boy, he’s a good boy, awww c’mere pal awww, good boy, ouch!……he f@*ckin’ bit me. Bad dog, bad boy..etc etc

  27. Jaws was created by the almost ever since regretful Peter Benchley.

    Sharks don’t await us hungrily – we’re rotten diet for them, too lean, too much bone. Probably use more energy digesting us than our calorific content. That’s why surfers etc are so prone – they do look like lovely seals on the surface, if you’re a semi-blind apex predator. (Not all sharks see badly – Makos have big big eyes)

    Problem is – a nibble to check out our flavour makes us bleed a lot!

    Check out http://www.sharkattacksurvivors.com – shows how few attacks there are globally, and really how very few are “deliberate”!

    But I won’t be surfing in the Red Triangle myself.

    1. They may not look at us as food but when you have a 20′ animal with steak knives for teeth that uses a bite to satisfy its curiosity about an object, we are going to lose. I look at what she’s doing and say the best case scenario is you don’t lose a limb. Yay. I’ll be on land thankyouverymuch.

  28. Ooo just noticed “Shark Fin Soup” with all its mystical and self-enhancing qualities is still legal in the US, with states “mulling” banning it. Nice.

    I suggest a restaurant trial: to prove your strength and self-resolve, stick to puffer fish. Or hand-catch the shark who’s fins you want to taste.

    Found this: http://www.underwatertimes.com/sharks/sharks.php

  29. As many on this thread have already pointed out, shark attacks on humans are generally a case of mistaken identity. It is not that hard to imagine how such a case could come about, what with your appendage ending in tasty fish (According to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Great Whites will not eat anything but the freshest quality fish – think sashimi grade).

    A lot of great white shark attacks in the last century stemmed form abalone divers that would typically tie the harvested (bleeding) abalone to their body as they continued to dive for more abalone to harvest. Why don’t people ever cover themselves in fresh meat and run around the savannah, and why do people seem to think it’s a good idea to do so in the ocean?

  30. Vending machines kill more people than sharks each year…. cello versions of popular snack-food jingles anyone?

  31. This is only evidence that you shouldn’t anthropomorphize animals. People aren’t smiling because they are happy, it’s just the way their mouths are occasionally shaped. Humans aren’t cruel, vicious monsters. They are simply animals behaving the way they always have.

  32. All you have here is evidence that Great White Sharks are hungry creatures.

    And since when does “hand feeding” mean using a long stick, or a lot of rope?

  33. Get out of there shark! Don’t trust humans! They’ll feed you one minute, then try to shoot, bomb or snag you the next! They’re incredibly vicious. They kill millions of their own kind every year, not to mention slaughtering every other kind of animal indiscriminately! Stay far,far away from them, or some day you’ll regret it! They simply cannot be trusted.

  34. I’m pretty sure that first Anon comment is a typo. The last sentence seems to indicate that he/she mean to type “Sharks aren’t cruel, vicious monsters. They are simply animals behaving the way they always have.” Also the fact that it follows right on the heels of the “dolphins aren’t smiling” bit. Context clues, people!

  35. Are you kidding me? As if sharks don’t already view humans as a food source… Now we’re training these wild, dangerous carnivores to seek us out?!? There’s a good reason when you visit a national park or forest, you are reminded: “Please do not feed the bears.” Animals are wild because they’ve managed to survive this far without human aid. When we interfere with nature, we are only asking for trouble. Leave those sharks the hell alone!

  36. You can’t live in SF for twenty five years and not meet a lot of interesting people. I’ve met two people who jumped (one might have actually been pushed) off the Golden Gate Bridge.

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