Jaws-dropping footage captures moment shark ask diver for back rub
This is the JAWS-dropping moment a shark swoops in front of a diver – and asks for a BACK RUB.
The phenomenal footage captures a lemon shark in a state of total relaxation as Eli Martinez, 43, carefully massages its back.
While sharks have been known to be put in a similar trance by divers using gloves to stimulate them – Eli wears a pair with no special coating.
Instead he insists the sharks choose to interact this way and believes he may be the first person to experience the behaviour.
The astonishing footage was captured in January at Fish Tales near Tiger Beach in the Bahamas.
Eli, founder of Shark Diver Magazine, said: “There are between 15 and 30 lemon sharks hanging around at this dive site.
“And there are several which ask for back rubs – the most frequent are Patches, Slash and Gills.
“They just lay there and enjoy the interactions, sometimes the rubs can go on for upwards of 15 to 20 minutes.
“I’ve been diving with them for years and have known Slash and Gills for over 10 but it was only in the past couple of years they began asking for back rubs.
“They swim up next to me, lay down and I rub their backs – it’s an incredible feeling when a wild animal chooses to interact like this.
“Reef sharks have been known to ask for nose rubs but that is with the use of chain mail.
“I have no special gloves on which would stimulate a lemon into this activity.
“It’s very unusual behaviour for a shark and they simply choose and enjoy these interactions.
“As far as I know I am one of the first to have lemons swim up and ask for these back rubs, I have never seen it before.”
Eli, from McAllen in Texas, USA, spent six years as a bull rider before swapping rodeos for sharks.
He has years of experience with all different shark breeds and admits although lemons are passive animals they can be dangerous.
He added: “They are very tolerant of divers however on the flip side I’ve seen them snap at divers and other sharks when irritated – so they definitely command respect.
“Lemons are one of the few shark species that can stop and breathe by what is known as buccal pumping.
“Most species of shark will drown if they stop swimming and ramming water through their gills – they are known as obligate ram breathers.
“The trick here is keeping the tigers or other lemons from coming in and bumping them away.”