A 23-year-old woman who was trying to enjoy a day at the beach in Boca Raton last month was hospitalized for something she still can’t wrap her mind around.
A baby shark, which was about two feet long and was identified as a nurse shark, had apparently bit down on her forearm and had refused to let go. It remained locked in place even after the animal died from being out of the water for too long.
"The shark wouldn't give up," said Shlomo Jacob, one of the beachgoers who had witnessed the incident in person. "It was barely breathing but it wasn't letting go of her arm, like it was stuck to her or something."
Because the animal wasn’t getting off of her, she needed to be taken to Boca Raton Regional Hospital while the shark was still attached to her arm, so it could be safely removed.
"The bite reflex is such that it may be some minutes before a quietly re-immersed nurse shark will relax and release its tormentor," the National Park Service says in a brochure handed out to Florida beach-goers. "The small teeth seldom penetrate deeply but are razor sharp.
For what it’s worth, the woman was still relatively lucky, because two feet isn’t very big for a nurse shark. They can grow well over 10 feet long, and something that big chomping onto her arm would have ended more severely.
Florida’s surrounding ocean waters are full of these critters just off of the shoreline. Most of the time, people can swim among nurse sharks and never experience any kind of incident, however this was just one of those freak cases of nature.
The woman’s name wasn’t released, so there wasn’t any way for news agencies to follow up with her and get more information. On the other hand, the hospital did say she was in stable condition following the event and that there was very little blood lost from the incident.
She made a full recovery.