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'An exploratory bite': Surfer from Jacksonville describes being bitten by shark

The shark went for surfer Jeremy Carr's foot and then let go, but two surgeries were needed.

ST. LUCIE COUNTY, Fla — Shark bites happen. 

But this case is an opportunity to hear about the experience from a man who studied marine biology and can describe the bite in detail, while respecting the animal itself.

"The waves were pretty good," Jeremy Carr recalled. He lived in Jacksonville about 20 years ago and studied at UNF. 

This past weekend, he was hopping on his board in St. Lucie County in South Florida to catch some waves.

"A shark came from underneath and latched onto my foot real quick and let go. And I paddled in thinking I just needed stitches, and it needed more than stitches," Carr said. 

The shark had broken some toes and and bit into the top, bottom and side of Carr's foot. 

"It shredded my foot pretty good," he said. 

Carr said he did not see the shark because "it came up from underneath. I thought it was just a fish at first because their teeth were so sharp and it was so efficient when it bit me that it didn’t hurt. It was more like really strong pressure all around my foot. I was like, 'OK, that’s weird.'"

Carr calls it an exploratory bite or a taste test.

Dr. Bryan Franks is a shark expert and professor at Jacksonville University.

"That means it's a bite and then it let go because the shark realized what it bit wasn’t what it though it bit, which would be fish or a prey item," Franks said.

Carr is not upset about the shark or the bite. In fact, he says there need to be more sharks in the waters.

"They’re apex predators. They’re extremely important to the food chain and the system of the planet. They’re super important and I have amazing amount of respect and admiration for them," he said, "and they’re just majestic creatures."

"I think we are tuning the tide of the reputation of the sharks. They are simply an animal living in its environment," Franks said.

After two surgeries, Carr will not lose his foot, and his goal is to hit the waves again by January.