One of the most popular shark diving destinations in the world is Nassau, Bahamas. We spoke with staff shark feeders at Stuart Cove’s Dive Bahamas about some of the unique behaviors the local shark population exhibits. Here’s what photographer and shark feeder Pamela Christman talked about when asked about “strange shark facts.”
Sharks follow the Boat: While some diving guests may get anxiety over seeing sharks following their dive boats out to the sites, it’s actually quite normal. The Caribbean Reef Shark population typically are attracted to the sound of the boat engine and appear waiting for a free meal. Over time, they have come to expect the colorful bait box with tasty morsels inside. BUT, once the bait is gone, typically so are the sharks.
They DON’T Bite The Hand that Feeds Them: Sharks are very picky about what they eat. While the sharks will typically poke their nose around, they only each the bait the shark wranglers provide. The Caribbean Reef sharks off the island of Nassau has learned to eat what’s on the end of the spear – and it’s been proven time and time again.
Sharks ONLY have an appetite for Fish: Not sold on the fact that sharks don’t like the taste of human flesh? The tricky shark wranglers have tried other “food” combinations including chicken, beef, pork and even rats. The sharks initially took the meat and then immediately spit it out. “It was a bit mean to try and feed them rats, but it DID prove a valuable point,” Christman points out.
Sharks DISAPPEAR during the Year: It’s not uncommon for the a large part of the shark population to disappear during the month of May, Christman said. “We don’t know where they go, but in May all the adults just leave. We assume they are going somewhere to breed.” That doesn’t mean ALL the sharks go away – just the mature ones of reproductive age, she says.
Sharks DO Respond to Colors: Through Stuart Cove’s productions and afiliation with “Mythbusters” and other Discovery Channel programs, the team has proven that sharks DO respond to color – specifically muted whites and yellows. “Many scientists have claimed sharks don’t have a sense of color, but we’ve shown that they indeed do respond to those colors.”