Predator and prey

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AUG. 21 — A 20-year-old Florida college student got a fright when a shark bit her while she was swimming in SarasotaBay last Wednesday.

The woman and a few of her friends were taking a small inflatable dinghy out to a sailboat owned by their college, anchored 200 yards out in the bay. They had gone out to see the marine phenomenon of bioluminescence. According to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune newspaper, there was little light other than the glowing algae.

What has been estimated to be a 6-foot bull shark swam up and sank its teeth into the woman’s side, hitting her ribs and pelvis. It then shook her briefly before diving back down.

She told the newspaper that her friends first thought she was joking, one even asking her if they needed to call 911. But the jokes stopped abruptly when they saw the deep gashes in her side.

Four hands pressing the wounds got the bleeding under control and a rescue boat came about 20 minutes later to take the wounded woman to the local hospital. There were reportedly 17 puncture wounds, requiring 100 stitches.

There have been 545 confirmed shark bites in Florida from 1882 through 2006, including seven bites in SarasotaCounty, according to the International Shark Attack File at the University of Florida.

— Elizabeth Ellis