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This Man and His Shark Are Best Friends (and Cuddle Buddies)

Australian diver Rick Anderson ran into a Port Jackson shark pup while he was diving seven years ago — the rest is history.

In many ways, Rick Anderson is just your average Australian man. He loves beaches, scuba diving and befriending animals with many rows of razor-sharp teeth in their mouth and on their skin. That's right: Rick Anderson is friends with a shark.

Actually, the two are more than just friends. They're really, really, really good friends. Anderson, ran into a Port Jackson shark pup while he was diving seven years ago. Anderson says he approached her slowly, as not to frighten her off. In his own words, courtesy of the Dodo:

“I started playing with her about seven years ago when she was just a pup about 6 inches long … I approached her carefully so as not to spook her, then began to gently pat her. Once she got used to me, I would cradle her in my hand and talk soothingly to her through my regulator.I did this each time in the first season she was here. Then over the following seasons, she'd recognize me and would swim up to me for a pat and cuddle."

Anderson told Buzzfeed he only approached his shark friend, who has no name, to let his diving students see how peaceful sharks really are. And this shark wasn't just peaceful, she was also emotionally demanding.

“It got to the point that if I didn't notice her, she would come out and tap me on the legs until I held out my arms for a cuddle, often to the amazement of my students. I saw her just before Christmas too," Anderson told Buzzfeed.

While Anderson is clearly a man of the sharks — his Instagram is crawling with them — he cautions against cuddling sharks of your own. These are still wild, unpredictable animals and should be given space.

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