Diver Balances Sharks Lulled Into Trance

She induces hypnotic state to aid ocean predator
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 17, 2011 7:10 PM CDT
Italian Diver Induces Trance in Sharks to Remove Parasites, Fishing Hooks
Italian diver Cristina Zenato "hypnotizes" a shark in order to clean it or remove a fish hook.   (YouTube)

(Newser) – Comfortable around sharks? How about stroking and holding one until it lulls into a trance so profound, you can hold it vertically by the nose. Italian diver Cristina Zenato does just that in her work with Caribbean Reef sharks, the Daily Mail reports. She induces a hypnotic state by stroking a shark's ampullae of Lorenzini— hundreds of gelatinous pores around its mouth and nose.

The shark becomes paralyzed for about a quarter hour, allowing Zenato to remove parasites, or pull a fishing hook from its mouth. After 15 years of working with sharks, however, Zenato still wears a chain link suit to protect herself. A photographer who recently shot pics of the "shark whisperer" said "it was totally relaxing to watch the sharks swim slow circles around us in hopes of being fed ... I was in awe and could not keep the smile off my face." (See more incredible photos here.)

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