• Aussie diver has lifelong friendship with wild "dinosaur" shark

  • Australian diver Rick Anderson, the owner of Rick's Diving School, makes an unlikely friend in a Port Jackson shark. (Xinhua)

    By Will Koulouris

    SYDNEY, Aug. 3 (Xinhua) -- Sharks are a vital part of the marine ecosystem, often thought to be dangerous and deadly creatures, but for Australian diver Rick Anderson, they are good friends.

    Nestled in the pristine beaches of popular Australian tourist location Port Macquarie, Rick Anderson, the owner of Rick's Diving School, has made an unlikely friend in a Port Jackson shark that was born close to one of his frequented diving locations a few years ago.

    Anderson told Xinhua on Thursday that his relationship with his "true dinosaur" friend began at birth when he came across a freshly hatched group of sharks.

    "I came across some fresh hatched ones poking around on the bottom, I approached one just to show my dive students that were with me at the time," Anderson said.

    "I had it sitting on my hand, patting her, and scratching her, and that went on for a couple of months because I saw her fairly regularly," he said.

    This out of the ordinary relationship between the experienced diving instructor, and his bullhead shark friend -- known for their large, blunt head -- continued as he would regularly visit her as she grew.

    "I would see her around that particular reef, and she became more and more familiar with me to the point where she would come up for a cuddle of her own accord," Anderson said.

    "She would swim up, tap me on the legs, or just swim straight up to my face until I held my arms out," Anderson said.

    "She would lay on my arms and let me give her a bit of a scratch under the chin, or on top of the head, and snuggle in, and then when I open my arms back up, she would just cruise away." he added.

    The city of Port Macquarie attracts thousands of local, and international tourists every year who come to see the beaches and local attractions, and Anderson said that visitors to the area can also get up close and personal with his 1.7-meter-long friend.

    "She comes to me, she will swim past other divers to come to me for a bit of a cuddle first, but once I've given her a scratch or a pat she is quite happy to be passed over to someone else to give her a pat, or even a cuddle," he said.

    Port Jackson sharks are known to frequent the sea bottom, and have teeth that distinguish them from other sharks, with the front teeth being sharp and pointy, while the back teeth are flat and blunt.

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