Bite Victim Hospitalized With Shark Still Attached

People had been 'messing with' nurse shark at Fla. beach
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 16, 2016 2:13 AM CDT

(Newser) – A Florida woman hospitalized for a shark bite Sunday didn't need to describe the shark that bit her—because it was still attached to her arm. The 23-year-old woman had been bitten on the right arm by a small nurse shark that wouldn't let go even after a bystander killed it, the Palm Beach Post reports. A Boca Raton Regional Hospital spokesperson tells the AP the woman was treated and released on Sunday afternoon, having presumably had the 2-foot shark removed from her arm. Witnesses say before the bite, the shark had been antagonized, possibly by the woman and her companion, who were seen near a submerged rock pile where nurse sharks are known to hang out.

People were "holding the shark by its tail. They were messing with it," 11-year-old Nate Pachter, who had been snorkeling nearby, tells the South Florida Sun Sentinel. The species has a strong bite and large numbers of very sharp teeth, but it is so laid-back it is "considered the 'couch potato' of the shark world," according to the National Park Service. "Attacks on humans are rare but not unknown, and a clamping bite typically results from a diver or fisherman antagonizing the shark with hook, spear, net, or hand," an NPS fact page states. "The bite reflex is such that it may be some minutes before a quietly re-immersed nurse shark will relax and release its tormentor." (On the other side of the country, countless tiny red crabs are washing up on California's beaches.)

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