Nurse shark grabs onto man’s foot in the Keys, won’t let go

Usually harmless to humans, the bottom dwellers can bite if bothered

KEY LARGO, Fla. – A Homestead man ended up with 16 stitches after a nurse shark clamped onto his foot while he was working on a dock.

Andres Garcia was in the water on Sept. 29 in Key Largo when he said the shark bit down and grabbed on.

Garcia said he isn’t sure if he stepped on the shark or if he just accidentally got too close to the area where the shark had been hovering.

His coworkers tried to pry the shark from the man’s foot, but it held on tighter, Garcia said.

Garcia eventually had to get out of the water with the shark still attached to his foot until it finally let go.

The shark held on to his foot for at least 15 minutes, he said. Garcia said he is fine and recovering from the injuries.

According to, nurse sharks are one of the most commonly seen sharks on coral and rocky reefs in the Atlantic Ocean.

Nurse sharks are, for the most part, harmless to humans. However, the slow-moving bottom dwellers, who have strong jaws filled with thousands of tiny, serrated teeth, will bite defensively if stepped or bothered in some way, according to National Geographic.

About the Authors:

Ian Margol joined the Local 10 News team in July 2016 as a general assignment reporter. Born in Miami Beach and raised in Broward County, Ian is thrilled to be back home in South Florida.

Michelle F. Solomon is the podcast producer/reporter/host of Local 10's original, true-crime podcast The Florida Files and a digital journalist for Local