It's hard to imagine a shark requesting the services of a dentist, or a person brave enough – or foolish enough? – to perform oral surgery on a very large hammerhead shark.
But consider the images shared last week via Instagram by filmmaker Joe Romeiro, co-founder of 333 Productions. They show Romeiro, a lifelong shark advocate and conservationist, massaging a 13-foot great hammerhead shark's snout while carefully extracting broken teeth from a gum area that appeared raw and infected.
Part of this Great Hammerhead’s gum seemed to be infected, raw and irritated with these to two broken and damaged teeth that were falling out. With some trust I guess even a shark can use a dentist from time to time. I wouldn’t advise anyone to try this. Thanks @billfisher333 for the #water #green #blue #abyss #trust #shark #sharks #hai #ocean #sea #water #requin #requins #joeromeiro #akula #tiburon #tubarao @xcelwetsuits @nauticamhousings @sharksdaily @discoverocean @nakaweproject @reddigitalcinema #鲨鱼摄影 #鲨鱼 @sharks_are_awesome1 #camera #underwaterfilm #underwaterphotography
"I wouldn't advise anyone to try this," Romeiro cautions in his Instagram description. Of the shark, Romeiro half-joked, "With some trust I guess even a shark can use a dentist from time to time."
The filmmaker, who was with 333 Productions partner Bill Fisher, told GrindTV that this remarkable encounter occurred in 2015, but that the images were not made public until last week.
The shark had been swimming in shallow water at a spot where intimately close and encounters between sharks and divers are fairly common.
Romero and Fisher spent about three hours with the shark, during repeated dives, and had noticed the raw gum area.
At one point, Romeiro began to caress the shark's snout and the predator remained still enough – like a trusting patient – to allow the filmmaker to remove its broken teeth.
"She eventually just let me do it, and she was really active afterwards," Romeiro said. "I can only describe it as it seemed that she was relieved that it wasn't impacted anymore."
Of course, this isn't something a casual diver visiting the Bahamas would even dare attempt.
Romeiro and Fisher have been diving with sharks since they were very young, and their footage has been featured widely on TV and in print.
Reads part of their company bio: "Joe and Bill portray sharks the way they see them, as beautiful and awe-inspiring creatures that are an important and critical element of our oceans' ecosystems."
Great hammerhead sharks, which can reach lengths of about 20 feet, inhabit tropical and subtropical seas and prey largely on fish, rays, and smaller sharks. They're not considered an especially dangerous shark, but have been implicated in sporadic attacks on humans.
Great hammerhead sharks, like so many species, have been hunted extensively for their fins, and are listed as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
More about hammerhead sharks from GrindTV