A shark wanted in on an Instagram model’s photoshoot, makes it known. Kidding!
But Katarina Zarutskie learned the hard way that you should never let your guard down with wild animals when you’re in their territory, even the ones with reputed docile demeanors.
Zarutskie was vacationing with her boyfriend’s family in the Bahamas and decided to take a picture in the famous nurse shark gathering areas in Staniel Cay.
“From my previous knowledge from surfing and scuba diving, I know nurse sharks are usually very safe,” she told the BBC. “I’ve seen countless photos of people with them on Instagram.”
Her boyfriend’s family told her it might not be the best idea, but she went anyway, and at first, things were going well. But it was when she laid on her back to float that a shark, probably provoked at her sudden change in movement, bit her in the arm and dragged her under.
The moment was “accidentally” captured by her boyfriend’s dad who was photographing the whole thing. She told reporters that the shark held her underwater for a few seconds before she was able to yank her wrist out of its mouth and swim to safety.
Zarutskie, 19, also a student of nursing and business at the University of Miami, said she immediately gripped her wrist and put her arm above her head to prevent the blood from dripping into the water, which could have potentially caused an even bigger problem with the sharks.
“At that point your body has so much adrenaline going and you just have to get out of the situation, but I stayed extremely calm,” she told BBC.
Zarutskie had to get stitches and antibiotics to prevent infection for the huge bite, and doctors told her there were even some bits of the shark’s tooth in the wound.
While it was a crazy and unfortunate experience, she said she doesn’t blame the shark for reacting th way it did, and doesn’t want this to be a deterrent for people to interact with the sharks.
“I think anyone that goes and swims with nurse sharks needs to realize it is an uncontrollable situation,” she said. “You can’t even predict how another human is going to react to situations, let alone an animal. I definitely will be thinking twice, but it won’t be scaring me away!”