A marine biologist who pioneered a ‘shark-proof’ wetsuit in the late 1970s is so confident about the strength of his invention that he regularly puts them to the test by thrusting his protected limbs into the predators’ jaws.
Jeremiah Sullivan is a marine biologist who is best known for his research into sharks and for his various designs of chainmail suits since his original design, patented in 1980.
The San Diego based scientist has sustained thousands of shark bites with no significant injuries to himself, divers in his care, or the sharks with which he works.
Now, he has tested the latest version of his super-strong wetsuit, which he says was built to withstand the blow from an axe, by letting a deadly 14-foot tiger shark bite down on his protected arm.
The feat will feature on an upcoming episode of the National Geographic wildlife documentary series Man Vs Shark.
Viewers will see the moment that the tiger shark used more than 400 pounds of force to clamp its jaws down on the intrepid aquatic explorer’s chainmail suit.
Incredibly, Mr Sullivan walks away from the encounter with just a few dents and scratches to the suit.
Speaking about the experience, he told the Daily Beast: ‘I’ve been bitten thousands of times. Been thrown around a bit. Beaten up pretty good. Nearly had my teeth knocked out. Certainly chewed on a lot.
‘I felt pretty confident in what I was doing but the tiger sharks I’d been saving for later. They’re known to have among the most destructive bites and to do a lot of damage when they get a hold of things and try to chew on them for a bit.
‘We weren’t sure what was going to happen. I had a lot of people with me that were quite sure that when one bit me, the other tiger sharks were gonna come swarm on me.’
‘I had to approach this thing knowing that it could be bad, but I was sure I was on the right track.’