Why you NEVER pick up a shark by its tail
By REBECCA MARSHALL
A FIERCE bite from a Wobbegong shark has taught a Caloundra diver new respect for underwater wildlife ... but his wife has called him a bloody idiot.
The 46-year-old, who did not want to be named, suffered six puncture wounds and grazing to his chest when he was snorkelling at Moffat Beach on Tuesday evening.
The man went diving at his usual spot on the headland with his 12-year-old son at about 4.30pm when he saw the two-metre long shark sitting on the ocean floor in three metres of water.
Thinking Wobbegongs, which can grow to three metres, are generally placid, he grabbed the shark on the tail in an effort to move it along.
However, the 40-kilogram beast was not happy with the contact and soon made sure his “assailant” knew about it.
“I grabbed it by the back of its tail to get it up and mobile,” he remembered.
“I’ve done it before, usually you just give Wobbies a flick on the tail and they go off.
“But this one sized me up and decided to have a go.
“I regret doing that now and I won’t be grabbing them again. I’ll have a bit more respect for wildlife now but it won’t stop me from diving.”
The man, who has been diving for 25 years and was wearing only boardshorts when the Wobbie struck, said the bite came as a shock.
“It was a real crushing type bite and he was probably going for my mask,” he said. He returned home with his son, who remained calm despite witnessing the incident, before his concerned wife told her “bloody idiot” husband to go to the hospital.
Caloundra Hospital staff then administered eight numbing injections before cleaning the wounds.
The man said the incident had sparked a change in attitude towards wildlife.
“It has taught me more respect,” he said.
“There’s a reason why things attack you and provocation is big issue. I spoke with my son about it and I think we both learnt a lesson.”
UnderWater World curator Andreas Fischer said Wobbegongs are “reasonably placid” but, like any wild animal, they will bite if provoked.
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