An adorable video uploaded April this year has gone viral recently, and with excellent reason. Prepare to spend your daily allotment of “aaaaws” and “d’aaaaws”, and have something squooshy to squeeze nearby, because it’s going to get really cute up in here.
A diver was going about his daily business of cleaning an aquarium tank in Aquariums de Lagons in New Caledonia, France. One of its residents, however, wanted some happy attention from its human.
Watch the video here:
The video is entitled “Requin Câlin”, which translates to “shark hug” in French. Many news reports have dubbed the happy shark a leopard shark, but commenters on social media have pointed it out as a zebra shark.
Are sharks really into affection? While pop culture has us running and screaming for the shores whenever a shark makes its presence felt, Science may actually be pointing to the opposite direction — at least, with certain types of shark. It’s been documented that some divers have been around sharks for so long, the shark actually goes after them for a stroke or a cuddle. A tiger shark in the Bahamas has shown this kind of behavior, as well as a Caribbean reef shark. While some naysayers might point out that sharks need to be in constant motion to keep breathing, some other sharks actually don’t need to — which make it perfect to park themselves on the sandy sea floor for some quality petting.
Although don’t go running into the fins of these predators of the deep just yet: most of them are actually pretty shy, and it takes a long time of observation and nonthreatening exposure to humans or a shark to actually warm up to a person.
Sadly, because of their bad rep in popular culture and the high prices their fins fetch in the black market industry, sharks are now on the list of endangered species.
So please, let’s put those shark fears away, and make a sincere effort to get to know these misunderstood creatures better. Let’s make sure there are still sharks for our grandkids and great-grandkids to pet and belly-rub someday.