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GALEOPHOBIA

AN ABNORMALLY LARGE AND PERSISTENT FEAR OF SHARKS

By Novel AllenPublished 3 years ago 5 min read
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DOLPHIN VERSUS SHARK

The truth about sharks: Far from being 'killing machines', they have personalities, best friends and an exceptional capacity for learning. (A quote from Independent news).

But it seems dolphins can outsmart them and sharks are scared of DOLPHINS?

I am trying to write about sharks, and after reading articles and pondering the subject. I realize that I may as well be writing about dinosaurs.

The fear of sharks is called GALEOPHOBIA. I have never been close enough to a shark to have an intelligent opinion. So Like 'Don Quixote' I am sailing in the wind of my story, tilting at windmills.

My biggest disappointment, for myself, is realizing that everything I learned in the movies about sharks is evidently wrong. Truthfully, it would be much easier to depict them as the terrible people eating monsters that we thought we knew. For the sharks though, it is a great relief to be redeemed from the notion of being nothing but man-eaters and a source of extreme terror.

There are people swimming quite safely, albeit carefully, with sharks everywhere.

This young lady has my deepest respect and admiration. Bravery personified.

MY STORY~~~~

I found Maxi the baby shark washed up on the beach and struggling to survive out of the water. So I scooped up some seawater in my bucket and placed her in it. I had been collecting seashells and had to sacrifice my collection to save Maxi.

She was lucky to be alive. There are Great White sharks, Hammerheads and who knows what else out that could pose a threat to her. I am guessing that she is an orphan.

I knew it was a girl shark because I googled this:

Male sharks have essentially two penis-like appendages that are near their anal fins. If the shark does not have these two sausages, then they are female (and usually, the biggest sharks in this area are female). End quote.

What was I to do with her? I had a dilemma, putting her back into the sea was not an option. She probably would not survive. I had no idea what type of shark the baby was. I sincerely hoped she was a baby. Maybe there were fully grown sharks who were tiny.

I started googling and yahooing and doing a lot of research on my phone. My dilemma only increased.

I took her home and placed her in my basement bathtub. A quick drive to the ocean and I had enough seawater to fill the tub with an ample amount for her safety. My children were elated. They had a pet shark.

First video. Reproduction and growth?

But what type of shark was this. It appears we have a blacktip reef shark. They are typically found in the Indo Pacific region. So why was I finding one off the coast of Florida. It was a wonder she even fitted into my bucket, this was not a typical everyday shark around here, other baby sharks were much larger. Maxi was maybe 15 inches large.

Another quick trip to the ocean to scoop up small fish for shark dinner, and while the children, Sian, seven years old and brave, and Mara, five years old and frightfully scared to go too close to the tub, were asking a lot of questions, I tried to get more information so I could answer them.

Some facts about these fishes are:

1. The babies weight between 15-20 pounds.

2. They are viviparous- they do not lay eggs like some sharks, they give birth.

3. The males are fully mature at 4 years old and females at 7 years old.

4. They live to be 13 years or older.

5. They are usually timid and shy, and do not pose a threat to humans. It is hard to get close to them because of their skittish nature.

6. They are usually found in shallow water.

7. They are not normally found very far from their chosen home-ground. (I imagine someone must have brought a parent here from their native habitat).

8. They eat small fish. Mullets, Jacks and wrasses, and will hunt in groups to herd schools of fishes.

9. Sharks are not mammals, they do not have mammary glands, they do not feed their young. They are classified as fish.

10. They breathe through their gills as fish do, rather than lungs that exchange respiratory gases.

"How do they breathe in the water," Sian asked. I was able to answer, luckily I had my list of facts.

"Will she bite my finger off Mama." little Mara wanted to know.

"Not while she is a baby. This kind of 'sharkfish' is safe to play with right now sweetie," I replied.

I know we could not keep the shark for a very long time. It would soon outgrow the bathtub. No one seemed to mind us only having one bathtub for the moment. We had a pet.

The children grew to trust splashing with Maxi. We kept her for six months, all the while preparing the children for releasing her back into the ocean or allowing the wildlife conservationist to take her.

One great plus to having Maxi was the children's attention to their schoolwork. They had to maintain their grades to 'swim' with her. They did exceptionally well. They were highly motivated due to their enjoyment of their friend as they referred to Maxi. They had a never ending parade of school friends wanting to play with Maxi. Of course the parents came to make sure all was safe.

Sani wanted to charge them a dollar each. He was becoming quite the little businessman.

Six months became a year. Poor Maxi was now in a portable swimming pool. It was time for her to go.

In the end we decided to donate her to the indoor aquarium at the mall. It was quite huge, and Maxi got her own home with enough room to be happily zooming about. They promised that whenever she reaches maturity she will be taken back to her natural habitat and released.

So the children will continue getting good grades and they will be allowed to actually swim with Maxi now in her large new home.

Hey, in six or seven years they will have outgrown poor Maxi and she can go home peacefully.

Short Story
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About the Creator

Novel Allen

Every new day is a blank slate. Write something new.

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