When your swimming this summer, keep in mind that sharks are not fans of selfies.
And don’t dare ask them to appear in your perfectly posed Instagram pic because you might get your ass bit.
That’s exactly what happened to 19-year-old Instagram model Katarina Zarutskie.
Zarutskie was vacationing in the Bahamas’ Exumas islands with her boyfriend and his family when she decided it would be a good idea to jump in the water with sharks that were gathering off the Staniel Cay marina to pose for a photo with them.
The sharks weren’t haven’t it and neither was Zarutskie’s boyfriend’s family. They told her not to do it but she didn’t see the harm in it.
She saw people do it before on Instagram so, it must be safe right?
“From my previous knowledge from surfing and scuba diving, I know nurse sharks are usually very safe,” she told the BBC. “I’ve seen countless photos of people with them on Instagram.”
To be fair, there are tourist attractions in the Bahamas where they allow tourists to feed and swim with nurse sharks.
National Geographic does say that nurse sharks will bite if stepped on or bothered in their habitats.
Zarutskie decided to place her trust in Instagram and asked her boyfriend’s dad to capture the photo.
She had already seen people swimming and snorkeling near that area anyway.
She was posing in the water with them when a local resident told her to lie back and float in the water.
“At this point people were starting to take photos,” she said.
It wasn’t long before a shark attacked.
“I leaned back, and then that shark he came and he bit down on my arm and pulled me under,” Zarutskie, a student at the University of Miami, told BuzzFeed.
Thanks to her quick, thinking she wasn’t harmed any further.
She freed her hand raised it above the water so the other sharks wouldn’t smell the blood and walked out of the ocean. Her boyfriend’s dad kept snapping photos the entire time.
“At that point your body has so much adrenaline going and you just have to get out of the situation, but I stayed extremely calm,” she says. “I think if someone was screaming and flailing around it definitely could have changed the situation.”
She says that she’s lucky to have her hand but has no regrets, though the experience has been a “big learning lesson.”
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“They are wild animals and it’s an uncontrollable situation,” she said. “I would recommend people to do it but be smart about it. You are in their home.”
Zarutskie, who has gained a lot more Instagram followers since her story went viral, said she’ll think twice about the next time she poses with animals but said that she doesn’t hate sharks and isn’t scared of the ocean.
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