One dog came face-to-face with a hammerhead shark after jumping into the water in the Bahamas.
On Feb. 16, passengers on a boat tour of the Bahamas witnessed the tense face-off between the animals, which started when the dog tried to jump on the shark. The scuffle was captured on video by the tour boat’s captain and crew member, Rebecca Lightbourn from Exuma Water Sports, the operator of the boat, told NBC News via email.
“We’re unsure if the dog just wanted to play or wanted to protect his home but he just jumped right in!” Lightbourn said in the email. “He managed to splash around and even tried to take a chunk out of his fin, but the shark swam off, pretty unsure of what just happened!”
The video, entitled "Dog vs Hammerhead," caught over two minutes of the struggle between the dog and the shark, as well as panicked commentary from passengers on the boat. Lightbourn said they don't know the name of the dog, but added that the team at Exuma Water Sports nicknamed him Rufus.
The video shows the large shadow of a 12-foot hammerhead shark swimming underwater near the boat. Seconds into the video, Rufus jumps into the water off of a nearby dock and swims toward the shark. For several seconds, the dog and shark circle one another in the water and appear to get into a bit of a scuffle, as one guest on the boat screams, “He’s going to bite the shark!”
Passengers on board became increasingly more worried for Rufus as he remained in the water, with one person yelling repeatedly, “Get out, baby, get out!”
Finally, by the end of the video, the dog jumped up on to rocks along the shoreline to exit the water before running away back to the dock.
Passengers cheered, shouting "Good boy!" while one person asked, "How'd he get away with that?" Some also commented that it looked like the dog was going to try to jump in after the shark again.
Lightbourn said that the dog is a type of domesticated stray called a Bahamian Potcake and is the pet of a caretaker on a private island.
As part of the typical tour route, the boat passes the island twice a day, and passengers on the tour are often greeted by Rufus.
According to Lightbourn, the dog is “super friendly” and always runs along the edge of the water when the boat goes by.
It’s not uncommon for passengers to see sharks while on the boat tour, Lightbourn said, but they usually only encounter reef sharks or bull sharks. Hammerhead sharks show up less frequently, with sightings happening only a few times each year.
On Feb. 16, the crew on the boat noted the rare sighting of the large shark and slowed down so passengers could see the animal. But when the shark started to swim closer to the shore, Rufus also took notice of it, leading to the showdown.
In the days since the face-off between the dog and the shark, crew members from Exuma Water Sports have seen Rufus and said he is “100% A-ok," Lightbourn said.