We’re accustomed to shark rescue stories in which a human is freed from the jaws of a bloodthirsty beast, after a terrifying underwater battle. This shark rescue story is not like that.
Watch the video above to see what happened, after a young Australian girl encountered a beleaguered shark in shallow waters.
When 11-year-old Billie Rea was walking with her family on Kingston Beach, in Tasmania, Australia, she spotted a draughtboard shark trapped between rocks.
Without hesitation, she reached down to free it, saying “Come on, darling. It’s all right, it’s all right,” to reassure the creature, as she picked it up with her bare hands and confidently returned it to the ocean, so it could swim free.
Demonstrating remarkable parenting Zen, her mother, Abby Gilbert, videoed the whole thing and praised her daughter for the rescue, saying, “Beautiful job,” and laughing proudly at the very end. Her main safety concern was the slippery rocks underfoot, not the live shark in her kid’s hands.
“As soon as it came into view, I knew what it was and I knew that it couldn’t hurt her,” Gilbert told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.
While it can grow to up to 1.5 metres long, the draughtboard shark is in fact a pretty chilled-out creature. According to the Australian Museum, it is also commonly referred to as Sleepy Joe or flopguts.
Australian underwater photographer and photojournalist Nigel Marsh shared some fun facts in his blog about the little shark’s superpowers:
″[It] has the ability to swell its body, by swallowing water to inflate its stomach, hence the nickname flopguts,” he explained. “It is thought that these sharks swell so they can wedge themselves in tight crevasses, making it difficult for potential predators (such as seven gill sharks and possibly wobbegongs, octopus and seals) to remove them.”
Rea’s mother attributes her daughter’s instinctive empathy for putting the creature at ease and allowing her to remove it from the rock pool and return it safely to deeper waters. “You saw in the video just how calm she is, and I feel like that animal felt so safe with her,” she said in an interview with MSN.
In that same report, Neville Barrett from the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies said the species was “relatively abundant, quite inquisitive and ... completely harmless.” That said, he warned would-be-rescuers to be careful:
“Swing into action if you can, but always preferably with caution. A lot of marine life does have spines and other venomous things.”
“She’s quite often coming home with orphaned pademelons, Bennett’s and rufous hare-wallabies, and she knows how to feed them, toilet them,” the proud mom said.
WATCH: MASSIVE 13-FT SHARK SPOTTED SWIMMING THROUGH POOL OF BLOOD, ALARMINGLY CLOSE TO FLORIDA BEACH