Little Ray worries he may have acted like shark bait after drawing a shark to friendly boaters with his entertaining motions, displayed at 50% of viewport width.
September 2019 by Terry Verduin


Pressed against the hole in the boat,
Little Ray could keep it afloat.
And once the leak began to slow,
the engine could be checked below.
(Little Ray & Shark Patch Things Up)

Little Ray & Shark Patch Things Up combines stingrays and sharks in a shark bait feeding frenzy adventure involving a boating family while nobody is shark fishing.


One of Many? Colors may lure sharks. In Hawaii, mainlanders are called “shark bait”, suggesting pale skin woos these powerful predators. Sharks' excellent bright light vision clears the way to strikes on familiar-looking prey.

Art of Camouflage? Some fish, including stingrays, hogfish and gobies, can change colors to blend their presence into new habitats. Cuttlefish, octopuses and squids are well-known, quick-change mollusk family artists.

Built-in Lures? Frogfish, snakes, turtles, anglerfish and wobbegongs, or carpet sharks, use body parts to mimic harmless species. With tongues, tails or other appendages, these predators entice prey. Dinner comes to them.

Pops of Color? Fish usually are light underneath and dark on top. Sharks may be attracted by shiny jewelry or bathing suits with patterns resembling fish scales. It's not clear what brought a shark to Ray's friends' boat.

Light Attraction? Lights and reflections help most animals determine size, texture and whether sightings involve friends or foes. This is particularly true for animals with keen vision. Australia is home to blind sharks.

Defining Moment? Erratic or splashing motions beckon sharks. People get sampled by these inquisitive creatures. It is wise to stay in shallow, clear waters near shore. Swimming or wading in murky water is risky.

Sewer Snatch? Solids in sewage releases appeal to bait fish. In turn, sharks crave these sludge-eating morsels. Farmed fish also may have poop connections. Some countries raise sewage-fed fish for human consumption.

Good Smell? Blood attracts sharks. However, they may have acuity to differentiate human blood from that of preferred prey. Blood proteins differ among species. Strange urine smells entering the ocean may intrigue them.

Puppy Love? Swimming with a dog may increase the risk of unwelcome interactions. Dog paddling seems to invite curious sharks. They inspect wild, vigorous commotions. Sharks also can snatch yapping dogs from beaches.

In the Bag? Large sharks in seal territory savor these blubbery meal-sized marine mammals. These diners may mistake a swimmer or surfer in a black wet suit. Looking like a seal can meet with dire consequences for the wearer.

On Board? To look less like seals, surfers boldly stripe their wet suits and blaze color swaths on their boards. Electrical pulse-emitting devices get added to boards in hope of frustrating sharks' prey-sensing receptors.

Feeding Frenzy:

Getting Personal? It is risky to block a predator's travels. An adult person looms large in the water. Aggressive species may launch territorial attacks. Aggression can be provoked by outside activities.

New Meaning? Shark bait describes someone in a vulnerable position. Little Ray and his boating companions meet this definition in Little Ray & Shark Patch Things Up. Shark did not abandon ship after making a hole in it.

Says it All? Sharks prefer easy meals over huge battles. They display no guilt or remorse after maiming prey to swallow it when the struggling stops. They steal catches from fishing lines or chomp through heavy nets.

Chain Reaction? Tossing food into a fish bowl or pond draws attention. Diners arrive and hang around, competing for the biggest share of supply. The resultant feeding frenzy can get the water churning, galvanizing viewers.

Bohemian Rhapsody? Predators caught up in a feeding frenzy may spare natural prey participating in the fray. The below video shows turtles and fish sharing small, abundant bait. Turtles eat fish, but favor feasts without fights.

Free Spirits? Helpful fish join rays and sharks for mutual benefit. Remoras, or “sucker-fish”, clean parasites from them. Pilot fish swim alongside, feeding on parasites and dropped food. Sharks and rays pay safety back.

Out of the Shadows? Most sharks hunt and scavenge at night. These opportunistic feeders consume dying, dead or decaying flesh of animals and refuse. They swallow food and non-food items whole or gnash them to bits.

Big Bites. Sharks have full use of both upper and lower jaws. Fish-eating species have pointed teeth. Shellfish and crab-eating species have flat crushing teeth. Species that eat seals and sea lions have razor sharp teeth.

Blech! Sharks spit out little mistakes. Smell and appearance are deceptive in food choice. Food can look good and taste bad. It can look terrible and taste delicious. Flavor preferences are individualized in humans and animals.

Mouth-Watering Food? Sharks do not make saliva. Water gulps and mucus mouth linings help them bolt down convenient or inconvenient morsels. Their strong stomach chemistry breaks down most heavy foodstuffs.

Dizzy Water? Sharks are ocean stars. In game apps, players start as little fish, trying to eat their way up the chain. The goal is to become a big fish, capable of devouring anything, before being polished off by the winner.

Stingrays and Sharks Deserve Respect:

Scratch-and-Sniff? It is not a good idea to bump into or touch stingrays or sharks. Angry or frightened specimens can turn on perceived enemies with harrowing speed and life-threatening weapons.

Natural Hierarchy? Small sharks may respect larger, better-equipped ones. Sharks have been observed waiting patiently in line for food placed in the water by humans. Females rank supreme. Sex and large size put them first.

Game Time? Powerful sharks fear few predators. They hunt at will, which may not be daily. Some species eat a few times a week or snack when prey crosses their path. Females may fast during the reproductive season.

Sophisticates? Orcas savor shark liver. These powerful mammals handily carve this delicacy from Great White Sharks. They leave the body behind. Carcasses wash up to feed shore life or sink to bottom dwellers.

Annual Pilgrimage? Sharks are not mindless, aimless or purposeless. Every year Great White Sharks swim about 40 days to hold a hunting and mating party halfway between Mexico and Hawaii in the middle of the Pacific.

Never-Ending? People show up with bait or for money. Sharks hang around ledges, holes, sandbars and wrecks. Sordid shark bait dives associate people with food. Many controversial activities for lucre involve the water element.

Making Waves? Users of a natural park in Palm Beach County, Florida initially opposed disruptions from a popular Shark Wake Park attraction run by Australian golfer Greg Norman and his Great White Shark Enterprises.

Structured Environment? Ocean-themed activities can be educational. Toddlers learn numbers, colors, alphabets and facts by feeding homemade cardboard sharks. Artificial fish, like their natural cousins, give and take.

Shark Crafts? These fierce fish can be illustrated or given three-dimensional form as puppets or games. It doesn't need to be Shark Week to pull kids from screens and get everyone celebrating these household names.

Getting Proactive? Conservation and preservation efforts support scientific research and improve public safety. The community comes to recognize the importance of sharks to the health and balance of the marine ecosystem.

Feed Missions? Partnering with organizations lacking public funding supports continuing good work. Private donations, grants and earned revenue from admissions, merchandise sales and events also raise beneficial funds.

Shark Fishing:

Taunting? Baiting is a deliberate act to cop an emotional response or action from another being. It traps unwitting victims in controlled outcomes. This retired attorney believes the agitators should feel and be adjudged guilty.

Illegal Tactics? Bait and switch false advertising of one product to draw consumers to another is illegal in many countries. Consumer protection legislation facilitates lawsuits against misleading marketers.

Get a Pass? Many land and water species lure prey to extended appendages resembling meals. Animals freely participate in the affirmative actions of baiting and ambushing. They do not fall within the letter of any law.

Cheating? Fish bait can be anything from worms to fake lures hiding hooks. It rarely is illegal to tempt animals to stop and take any bait. Causing fish to do something of danger to themselves is precisely what anglers intend.

Taking the Lead? Anything can become shark bait. Shark Sider presents The 14 Weirdest Things Sharks Have Eaten. License plates, tires and a chicken coop may have traveled long distances to wind up inside these big eaters.

Dealer's Choice? Shark fishing is popular. Bait is bought, netted or hooked. Bonita, mackerel, mullet and similar fatty fish serve as common baits. Anglers chum for sharks by tossing fish parts overboard to draw them.

What? Stingrays are not a protected species. They are caught and killed for bait. Parts are scattered in advance of match, tournament and recreational shark fishing. The gore attracts competitive feeders to boost sporting odds.

Reform? Sponsors of monster competitions are under pressure. Harvest of the largest fish harms reproduction. Mama Ray reports bigger fish have more babies. No Fishing discusses the physical distress of trophy fish.

Open Season? In the Pacific, few countries ban shark fishing or finning. Demands for shark fins and meat in Chinese cuisine bring rogue fishing fleets into sanctuary waters. Frozen and dried fins are prized for soup.

Bans and Laws? Shore fishing, shark finning and targeted fishing increasingly are coming under world-wide restrictions. Pulling sharks from the water or delaying their release for photography should be illegal.

Uncharted Waters? Laws protecting sharks are under consideration for unregulated, international Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea waters. No laws prevent commercial trade in imported shark products.

Boating Family

Stand Out? People put a lot of thought into bottom colors for boats. Colors or patterns may charm or repel fish. Yellow, white, silver, reflective metal and highly contrasting colors seem to intrigue and entice sharks.

Peak Season? Shark territory moves. Sharks migrate north in the summer and south in the winter. Those who are terrified of bites should reverse this pattern. They are less likely to meet up with sharks or risk becoming bait.

Boating Haste? It should come as no surprise that boaters step out of their crafts to enter the water. Far from shore, the ocean is a swirling place of danger. Sharks lurking beneath the waves are fast, strong natural swimmers.

Against the Waves? Boaters may not be practiced ocean swimmers. Boat outings are occasional, seasonal recreations for many families. Sharks notice when choppy waves disrupt swimming strokes and breathing patterns.

Shudder Click? These apex hunters are known to grab cameras. A hand or arm may go along during the filming. Boats get rammed by incited sharks. Great White Sharks punch holes in boats and damage shark cages.

Spirit of Travel? Sharks generally avoid boats. Immense size repels them. Dorsal is a free application, available through iTunes. It gives real-time shark reports and alerts. Boaters can visit shark populations or avoid them.

Spiritual Connection? Boaters often feel a special attraction to water. They are drawn to the physical health and wellbeing experienced while circulating within the aquatic world. They may develop intimate bonds with nature.

Raising Standards? Beach goers and boaters must be good custodians. Messes make their way into hungry residents of the world's waters. Unnatural foods are hard or impossible for these bold predators to digest.

Be Moved? Do-it-yourself responsibility makes a difference. Items carried away, reused, recycled or re-purposed lighten environmental footprints. The effects are not simply local. Waves, winds and sea life add locomotion.

Communion? A Florida Softshell Turtle dines with fish in an unpredictable feeding frenzy. It shows predators and prey can get along. This is a book theme. The sounds are water splashes and “There is the turtle.” (10 seconds)