Gerard Soury—Getty Images
By Julia Zorthian
May 16, 2016

A Florida woman was hospitalized Sunday when a small nurse shark bit her arm and would not let go after people on the beach had reportedly been “antagonizing” the animal in the water.

Brought ashore, someone allegedly killed the shark while the 23-year-old woman was on the beach, and paramedics had to transport her to the hospital because it still held a tight grip of the woman’s forearm in its jaw. There was not very much blood, and the woman was in stable condition for release later Sunday afternoon, the AP reports.

Eleven-year-old Nate Pachter was snorkeling in the area, he told the Sun-Sentinel, when he saw a group of people in the water “holding the shark by its tail. They were messing with it.”

The National Park Service provides information about nurse sharks on its website. “Attacks on humans are rare but not unknown, and a clamping bite typically results from a diver or fisherman antagonizing the shark with hook, spear, net, or hand. The bite reflex is such that it may be some minutes before a quietly re-immersed nurse shark will relax and release its tormenter,” the website says. “Leaving sharks alone is the best tactic”

Write to Julia Zorthian at julia.zorthian@timeinc.com.

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