Do Sharks Like Being Pet: Why, Types, Several Facts Around It


After seeing a shark, the last thought that would come into someone’s mind is petting it. The vicious smirks of sharks can arise any feeling in us but loving.

It would be completely wrong to think that sharks cannot be pets. In fact, some sharks can be kept as pets. Regardless of how astonishing it may sound, Sharks are shy creatures, yet they will swim near you if they accept you. If you see a shark approaching with its jaws open, it’s a hint that you should tickle its tongue.

However, keep in mind that sharks are predators, and breaching their territory could result in serious consequences. Experts also advise that if you are not a marine specialist, you should resist the impulse to touch sharks. Divers typically reciprocate with a mild touch if a shark tries to begin a dialogue.

There are a lot of fascinating facts worth learning about sharks being pets. And this post would shed light on this aspect. We will try to answer whys, hows, types, and other fascinating facts regarding sharks as pets.

So please stick with us to explore more!

Image Credit: Sharks by Parker_West from Pixabay

Do sharks like being touched?

Would you touch a shark? Well, the answer to this would definitely go on the negative side for most of us. But do sharks like to be touched?

Sharks like being touched, but they must take the initiative. It is only then one can know if they want to be touched. Sharks are curious and social; hence, a light touch or stroke on their fin can often be looked forward to. However, forceful touching, riding, or wrestling may result in something grave. 

Marine experts advise that it is often wise to give sharks a light touch to connect with them. However, one should never take touching to conquer or dominate these predator fishes. Remember, sharks are predators at the end of the day.

Do sharks have feelings of love?

The feeling is not exclusively for humans. Animals feel love as well. However, it is intriguing to explore if most predators on earth also have feelings of love.

Sharks may sense love. But it is not the way humans do. Touch is a global language of trust and love, and if a shark allows itself to be caressed or touched, it expresses its desire to be loved. And it may be a surprise to know that even White Sharks feel loved as much as humans do.

In this respect, marine biologists assert that shark brains are similar to human brains and experience attachment in the same way that humans do.

Why do sharks like being pets?

Image Credit: Leopard Shark by Cliff (CC BY 2.0) from Wikimedia

It is a big misconception that marine predators are devoid of any emotions, and they only view humans as their meal. 

Sharks, like people, sense emotions and like being petted in order to receive affection. As a result, sharks may approach divers and establish communication on rare occasions. Caressing and lightly touching them can be done in such instances.

It’s important to remember, though, that you should never force yourself on a shark. Even though these ostensibly vicious animals can express emotions, they are not human-like. Therefore, it is critical to treat them with care and respect.

Can sharks be called ‘dogs’ of the ocean?

Dogs are man’s best friends. These animals are regarded as the best example of loyal and loving pets and companions.

Certain shark species like to be petted like dogs. However, it depends on the expertise of the marine specialist and the shark type that decides if these predatory fishes can be termed as ocean ‘dogs.’ 

In this context, shark conservationist Jim Abernethy likes to pet Tiger sharks in Tiger Beach in the Bahamas. However, he has experience of over ten years. Hence, his experience and expertise play a big role in petting sharks as dogs. 

Also, remember that not all Tiger sharks act as ‘dogs’ and should not be approached carelessly. 

Do sharks like to play with humans?

Sharks are predators, and although they don’t need to see humans as their menu, you cannot deny their unpredictable nature. 

Although sharks are misunderstood as being overtly vicious, they do not like to play with humans as expected from pets. That being said, expert divers and marine biologists often find ways to connect with sharks by petting them lightly. But this is not similar to playing with them.

Sharks that appreciate having their bellies scratched seem to enjoy being touched by humans. Individual sharks having friendly connections with people have been observed on various occasions. However, it’s difficult to say whether they enjoy playing.

How to pet sharks?

Image Credit: A man reaching out to a shark from Piqsels

As a result, petting sharks is not unthinkable. If sharks are interested in being petted, they can expect to be petted in return.

Marine biologist Jim Abernethy suggests that sharks are unpredictable, and if you do not have the expertise, you should not pet them. However, marine experts often pet sharks by gently touching and caressing them. But, of course, it is only done if the sharks allow them to do so.

As a result, non-experts should avoid caressing and handling sharks even during scuba diving sessions.

Can sharks have friends?

Sharks are solitary predators who traverse the oceans alone in quest of prey. To what extent, however, are sharks lonely? Or do they all swim together?

Sharks do not build solid friendships and do not live in groups. Consequently, they are not reliant on one another to survive. They are, nevertheless, sociable, and their social behavior differs from that of other animals. In this regard, Gray reef sharks in the Pacific Ocean develop their social networks, some of which persist for years!

In this context, it’s worth noting that some shark species, such as Gray reef sharks, collaborate in hunting. On the other hand, Nurse sharks prefer to rest in large groups, with two to 40 individuals piled on top of one another.

Do lemon sharks like being pets?

Image Credit: Bored Sharks by Mantas Vidutis (CC BY 3.0) from Wikimedia

A gigantic lurking beneath the ocean’s surface does not exactly conjure up images of a friendly shark. Lemon sharks, however, are not particularly aggressive.

Lemon sharks are rarely kept as pets, but there have been reports of lemon sharks approaching divers to be petted. The reason for this is unknown, although studies have shown that they have specific jelly-filled pores around their snouts that, when stroked, induce a trance-like state. This seemed to be a hit with them.

However, caressing a lemon shark simply because you want to might not be a good idea. Although lemons have only been known to attack people in a few instances, if you are frightened, they may bite you.

Do zebra sharks like being pets?

Image Credit: Zebrashark by Makolga3113 (CC BY 3.0) from Wikimedia

Zebra sharks are friendly fish that live in tropical oceans near coral reefs. They sleep for most of their day and lazily search for prey on the seafloor during evenings.

Zebra sharks are generally gentle with humans, and they frequently allow people to pet them. They may even take food from a diver’s hands. However, zebra sharks are often kept in large aquariums and captivity for scientific studies due to their placid nature. 

It’s important to note that when they’re annoyed, they can turn aggressive. Finally, it should be mentioned that zebra sharks are endangered shark species and therefore should not be kept as pets, even if they appear friendly to humans.

Do nurse sharks like to be pets?

Image Credit: Nurse shark turning by Stevelaycock21 (CC BY-SA 4.0) from Wikimedia

Nurse sharks are the ocean’s couch potatoes. This species enjoys drifting along the ocean’s bottom in shallow water, slurping up food.

Although these sharks are rarely dangerous, it is not good to pet them. Additionally, keeping them as pets can be tricky, as you would need at least a 15,000-gallon pool or aquarium to accommodate them. These fishes can grow up to 14 feet.

Although nurse shark attacks are rare, they are not uncommon. Nurse sharks are placid and reclusive, although they can attack if disturbed or spooked.

Do great white sharks like being petted?

Image Credit: A great white shark from Piqsels

As previously established, sharks are not always the most dominant marine predators. In fact, some sharks have been observed to form bonds with certain divers.

Great white sharks enjoy being caressed, but it is not wise to do so unless you have prior knowledge and skill. Great white sharks are known for being violent. An incidence involving a guy losing his hand while petting a great white shark has been reported.

Great tiger sharks are considered curious fish. However, any unwanted interference might provoke aggressive behavior in these predators. Keep in mind that this shark species is recognized for having the highest number of human attacks.

What if humans pet sharks?

When you see a shark, the concept of caressing it is the last thing that comes to mind. Unfortunately, however, it is not an uncommon occurrence.

Sharks occasionally allow humans to pet them, and when humans respond positively, they may create strong attachments. Although it is difficult to wrap one’s hand around a shark, experts frequently scratch these predators’ back, fin, or even belly.

Sharks, however, are not the type of animals that humans like to pet. So, if you come across a shark while swimming or diving, resist the urge to pet it. Remember, if a shark is spooked, it can attack humans viciously.

Summary

It goes without saying that sharks are infamous predators. However, as shown in popular culture, the image of these fishes is an exaggeration. But it is not recommended that you pet a shark unless you have complete experience and expertise in doing so. It is worth noting that sharks are more endangered due to human actions than humans due to the former. That said, we need to rethink how we conceive of these marine carnivores.

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