Screenshot: ABC7 News Bay Area

Woman Tries to Hand-Feed Shark and Pays the Price

This woman tempted fate while handfeeding a shark. Guess what happened...

No matter how "safe" and "docile" a shark species is said to be, there's always one thing to keep in mind: They're wild animals, and if you are in their territory, they call the shots.

That's why I'll never understand the appeal (or operational ethics) of feeding marine wildlife, especially sharks. Teaching these creatures that a boat and a human equal an easy meal seems, well, really dumb.

And yet, this woman visiting Australia's Dugong Bay still feels it's necessary. Let's hope she did this for some better reason than a social media post to brag to her friends about.

The Washington Post helped shed some more light on the situation, and thankfully the woman, Melissa Brunning, is going to be just fine.

The incident happened in in Gugong Bay, Western Australia and the woman was bitten on the finger and briefly dragged into the water by a tawny nurse shark. Had that been a larger shark, the ending could have been a lot different. She suffered a deep infection, broken bone, and a torn muscle. Surgery followed Melissa's return from her trip.

Again, what's the appeal here? Fishing for a predator species with a rod and reel is frantic enough. Do you really need to feed them with your hands? What's the benefit here? Are you "helping" these sharks in any way? Are you helping yourself?

The answers might be different for different groups of people, but frankly, I think that's one of the stupidest things anyone could possibly do. There's some light at the end of the tunnel, as Brunning has admitted she was in the wrong, this was not a "shark attack," but rather a "blonde doing a stupid thing." At least she's owning up to it.

Tawny nurse sharks are not known to be aggressive. Should that matter? Probably not. They are sharks, and they have shark teeth. Multiple rows, even. Built on powerful jaws. Enough said.

And let's take it easy with the headlines like "Shark Drags Woman into Crocodile-Infested Waters." That's a little overboard (no pun intended). Sure, there may be saltwater crocodiles in those parts of Australia, but let's actually watch the video to determine what the best way to title it would be.

Hand-feeding fish is one thing, but a woman hand-feeding sharks in a foreign land is totally different. She said it felt like her finger had been "sucked into a vacuum cleaner full of razor teeth," according to the West Australian.

Leave wild animals wild. When you're in their home, act like you care. And whatever you do, don't let your guard down.

Right, Melissa?