Myth man-eater & shark attacks

We are not on the diet of sharks

 

Movies like «Jaws», and the press make sharks seem demonic. We perceive sharks as man-eaters, who carry out malicious shark attacks on humans.

Sharks are not man-eaters They are basically not interested in humans as prey. We were not part of their evolution and are not part of their diet. Experiments with stored blood have shown that sharks do not react to human blood. People, however are almost entirely made of bones and a small amount of fat. Therefore we aren’t on the natural menu of the shark.

In reality, sharks are responsible for very few deaths worldwide. There are around 100 shark attacks, or better, shark accidents a year. Few of them end up bloody. Every loss of a person is tragic, but sharks are not man-eaters as portrayed by the media. Even selfies kill more people than sharks.

The probability of experiencing a shark accident is 1 in 200 million (with an estimated 20 billion water sports per year). We have a better chance of winning the lottery at 1 in 31 million. (Source:  srf.ch)

 

Worldwide shark accidents 2016 – 2012 

Worldwide shark accidents from 2016 – 2012 (Source: Statista)

 
Why shark accidents happen

Sharks are curious animals. When a shark notices a human being, it is something completely unknown to him at first. The shark first tries to grasp the unknown with all its senses.

Only when he has scanned the human being for a considerable time with his senses (and has not lost interest in humans), can it come to a so-called trial bite. The shark tries the unknown object, so to some extent tests whether it is edible. As a rule, the shark leaves the man after a bite because we are not on his menu. Unfortunately, even trial bites can lead to serious and irreparable injuries or deaths.

These shark accidents are usually a chain of many unfortunate circumstances:

  • Poor and limited visibility irritating the sharks
    (eg the sand being churned up by high waves)
  • Competitive behavior requires a quick hunt for prey
    (the shark sees a prey and another shark at the same time)
  • The shark is harassed and carries out a stress bite
    (eg the shark lacks an escape route)
  • The behavior of humans leads to a shark accident
    (eg to swim in a known shark area during dusk)

 

Diving with sharks

Diving with numerous shark species, even with up to 8 tiger sharks at a time, is possible without danger to humans. We experienced this wonderful experience ourselves. Sharks are predators but not man-eaters.

 

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