WEIRD NEWS

Teen Jumps On Whale Shark Like It's NBD

05/11/2015 02:01 pm ET | Updated May 11, 2015

Two teens made headlines on Monday after video emerged of one of them riding a whale shark off the coast of Destin, Florida, in the Gulf of Mexico.

"I like whale sharks. I don't think they could hurt you if they wanted to. We just didn't stand near his mouth," one of the teens, Cody Garland, told local news station WEAR. The ride lasted about 20 seconds, he told the station.

His girlfriend also reportedly took a swim with the animal.

Whale sharks, which are generally harmless to humans, are the largest living fish species. These sharks are currently listed as vulnerable due to overexploitation, and are among 25 protected shark species in Florida. It is legal to catch and release them within state waters, but they cannot be kept.

Florida's Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission did not immediately respond to The Huffington Post's request for comment, but it does not appear as though riding a whale shark is currently illegal.

Another teen drew attention in 2013 for riding a 30-foot whale shark in the Gulf of Mexico. A marine biologist told NBC News at the time that grabbing on to the animal could remove some of its slimy protective coating and cause health issues for the shark.

A Florida charter boat captain rode a whale shark last year, but did not face any legal ramifications, WTSP news reported.

In 2012, a Florida woman was arrested for riding a manatee.

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