Michele C. Hollow (@michelechollow)
May 6, 2015
If the theme of “Jaws” plays in your head when you’re in the ocean, it’s time to learn some shark facts and find out how to protect yourself.
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If you’re in the water and you spot a shark nearby you should:
If the boat or shore is far away, stay as still as possible and hope the shark ignores you (you can’t out-swim a shark). Splashing around shows fear and attracts sharks. Sharks often attack from behind, so never turn your back on one.
How do you scare a shark away?
The data on whether shark repellent works is inconclusive. Most anti-shark devices send out electrical currents that can cause the shark some level of discomfort. One study on these products found mixed results. Screams don’t scare sharks. Punching them in the nose unlikely to work, experts say.
Where is the shark attack capital of the world?
According to the International Sailing Federation, anyone who has swum in Smyma Beach has been within 10 feet of a shark. The most shark sightings occur in September. Hawaii is a close second to Florida for shark sightings.
You are more likely to die from:
According to George H. Burgess, director of the Florida Museum of Natural History’s International Shark Attack File, between 70 and 100 people are attacked by sharks each year worldwide. In the United States, 52 shark attacks were recorded in 2014. Five of the victims died. On average, 60 people are killed each year by tornadoes.
Why do sharks attack people?
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), when sharks see a person splashing in the water, they may think they’re seeing a sea lion, seal, fish or other marine mammal, which they prefer to eat. Sharks also attack people when they are provoked, feel threatened or are defending their territory.
How can you prevent a shark attack?
There is safety in numbers. Sharks are more likely to attack individual swimmers who wander far from others. Shiny jewelry mimics fish scales and labels you shark bait. Stay out of the water during early morning, late afternoon and at night because that’s when sharks tend to eat.
How sensitive are sharks to the smell of blood?
“The shark’s ability to detect even minute amounts of blood is amazing,” Burgess says. Never go in the water if you're bleeding even a little. While sharks can detect menstrual blood, Burgess says, “there is no evidence that menstrual blood is a factor in a shark attack.”
Do sharks attack men or women more often?
Burgess says 90 percent of shark attacks happen to males. “This reflects a historic pattern of more males engaged in marine aquatic activities, especially those that put humans most at risk, such as surfing, diving and long distance swimming. It in no way can be attributed to sharks preferring males over females.”
What are the most dangerous sharks to humans?
Great white, tiger and bull sharks are known as the “Big Three” deadliest sharks to man, in part because their teeth tend to sheer rather than hold a victim. Great whites have caused the most fatalities, followed by tiger sharks. Leopard sharks spook easily and tend to swim away from divers.
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