|photo courtesy animaltime.com|
Nicknamed “the cigar shark”, they only grow to about 20 inches long. This is not an animal that will take your leg off with one bite. Instead, this fish is a parasite, taking little pieces out of everything from seals to squid, and, in at least two documented cases, swimming humans and shipwreck survivors.
In the blink of an eye they’ve attached their suction cup of a mouth, rotated their body, and used their terrifically sharp bottom teeth to carve out a perfect circle of flesh two inches across and two and a half inches deep. The resulting wound is painful and tends to scar badly.
|photo courtesy IO-9|
It’s not uncommon to find the telltale marks of these little sharks on everything from tuna to the domes of submarines. I myself have seen half-healed bite marks on stranded sea lions I’ve helped rescue, testament to the mammal’s weakened condition prior to arriving on the beach.
|photo courtesy: wikipedia|
Cookie cutters don’t have any special affinity for humans. They’re true deep-water opportunists, so the chance of encountering one close to shore is very low. Still, if you do find yourself missing a chunk of flesh during a swim, look out! They’ve been known to travel in large schools, so the first bite will rarely be the last.