On a warm evening in mid-May, I was walking up the beach to grab a bite to eat when my friend, a well-meaning young man, spotted me.
“Is that a shark?” he asked.
“No, it’s a catfish,” I responded.
We were both surprised by the size of the creature.
It was a cat-like shark, about six feet long, that was swimming slowly toward us.
The fish seemed happy, its eyes gleaming, its teeth bared.
It had a tail, and its body was shaped like a cat’s.
“Shark fins are very powerful,” said Michael A. Ruprecht, an expert in shark behavior and ecology at the University of Wisconsin.
“They’re very sharp, and they’re very fast.
They have sharp beaks, they have very sharp fins, they’re incredibly fast.
You can actually see them circling the shark, chasing it.
They’re very dangerous, very dangerous.”
The shark was about two feet away and its jaws were as long as my forearm.
It then began to bite.
“That’s when I knew I had a problem,” Ruprem said.
I looked back at my friend.
“I’m not going to kill this,” he said.
“But if you’re going to fight this shark, don’t just do it to kill it.”
I don’t think I had ever seen anything like it before.
I was hooked.
The next morning, I went to the hospital to get a rabies shot.
The hospital had two sharks and several dozen other creatures.
The sharks were in cages that had been lined up in rows, with one shark in each row, facing the shark cage.
The shark cage was the most terrifying thing I had seen.
A few days later, I got a call from the University Health System.
“You’re going out on a walk with a shark,” they said.
As I stepped out onto the beach, I saw the shark and knew that I was in trouble.
I had just been bitten by one of these sharks.
“What the hell?”
I said to myself.
“Oh, my God.”
I was at a loss.
What did I do wrong?
I went back to the hotel and decided to get some help.
I went through the hotel’s swimming pool with a friend and a colleague, and while we waited for the shark to go under the water, I talked to a doctor who specialized in shark bites.
“There is no way that you can fight a shark with a fish,” he told me.
I explained that I had no idea how the shark was going to react.
I said that I didn’t want to fight it.
“Because we’re fighting with a knife,” he responded.
I could see the fear in his face.
“It’s not like we’re stabbing it with a sharp knife,” I explained.
“This is a big, big fish, a tiger shark, and we’re trying to kill a tiger tiger shark.
The only way we’re going get it down is if we have a shark cage.”
A week later, the hospital brought a cage and a tank with a large pool.
The aquarium was full of sharks.
I walked into the aquarium with my colleague, Ruprete, and told him what I had learned.
“Why do you want to go out on this walk?” he said, “because you think it might be a tiger?”
I knew it was a trap.
“Don’t be scared,” Rupsine advised.
Don’t be afraid.
You’re not going in there to fight a tiger.”
Rupret told me to keep my distance.
We had to fight our way out of the cage.
A tiger shark was very much alive.
We saw the tiger shark on the monitor, with its beak slit open, its head and tail sticking out.
The tiger shark’s body was covered with black scales.
It also had a black eye that was a little smaller than my palm.
The rest of its body looked like a shark.
Rupsie and I were stunned by the sight.
It looked like someone had ripped off a tiger’s tail and made it a shark tail.
RUPRETT: I was afraid it would eat us, but we didn’t see the tiger sharks eating us.
RUSSELL: This was a very scary experience.
There was this moment when you saw this tiger shark being killed by a shark, but you never saw the real thing.
We felt like we were being taken to the edge of the world.
We didn’t know what was going on.
We weren’t scared of sharks, but they were terrifying.
And the moment that we had that moment, it gave us hope.
We just wanted to be safe.
“Now, why would you do that to a tiger?”
RUPREETT: We were thinking of the big