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Shark attacks! how customary are they? where do they occur? - out-of-doors


Last week in Australia, one man's day at beach could have curved into a disaster: He was attacked by a seven-foot bust whaler shark while surfing about 100 yards out from Sydney's Bronte Beach.

Fortunately, the man, Simon Letch, stayed calm and "shoved the board at [the shark] like a barge pole. " After compelling two bites of the fiberglass board, the shark swam away and Letch surfed back to shore.

"It was only about 10 or 15 seconds that I was coming up for a wave but it seemed like an eternity," Letch said.

You'd think that this Jaws-style assail would have kept Letch on land, at least for the rest of the day, but the lifeguard said he came back 30 action later, proxy board in hand, ready to surf.

Afraid to Get Back in the Water?

Just how expected are you to come crosswise your own "Jaws" while wading in the surf or snorkeling with some Angel Fish?

According to the Global Shark Argument File (ISAF), 1,909 deep-rooted shark attacks have occurred about the world-between 1580 and 2003! Of these, 737 happened in the United States, and 38 ancestors died as a result. Only just alarming numbers, but the concrete add up to of shark attacks isn't certainly known for the reason that many areas keep them under wraps so seeing the sights isn't affected.

Unprovoked shark attacks, the kind where a shark in its actual haunt attacks a (live) human devoid of any deceptive reason, do seem to be on the rise, though, say the researchers after ISAF.

In 2004, there were 61 gratuitous shark attacks recorded worldwide (seven were fatal), up from 57 in 2003. Overall, this add up to has been budding for the past 100 years, and more citizens were attacked in the 1990s than in any other decade (and so far it seems that the existing decade will break last decade's record).

***** Your odds of being attacked by a shark? 1 in 11. 5 million, says the Worldwide Shark Act of violence File. Being killed by a shark? 0 in 264. 1 million. Your risk of drowning, for comparison? 1 in 2 million. *****

Keep in mind, though, that if you're caught up in a shark argument that's deemed "provoked," that argument will not be integrated in the tally. What constitutes a provoked shark assail or an assail that's not "unprovoked"? Those that involve:

* Sharks and divers in broadcast aquaria or examination investment pens

* "Scavenge damage" to by now dead humans (typically drowning victims)

* Attacks on boats

* Attacks in which a human initiates call with a shark (such as a diver grabbing a shark)

Why are shark attacks on the rise? It's less convoluted than you may think ? Say the researchers at ISAF, it's as humans are expenditure more time in the water.

Where Are Shark Attacks Most Common?

Though descriptions of Great Whites gliding by means of Australia's Great Barrier Reef may come to mind, most shark attacks come to pass in North American waters. Surrounded by the United States, shark attacks come to pass most often in Florida and then in:

* California

* Texas

* Hawaii

* North Carolina

* Alabama, Oregon and South Carolina (tied)

Worldwide, after North American waters, the most shark attacks occur in:

* Australia

* Brazil

* South Africa

* Gathering Island (in the Indian Ocean)

* The Bahamas, Cuba, Egypt, Fiji, New Zealand and Venezuela (tied)

***** In the United States, you're more liable to be killed by a deer (through auto accidents), dog, snake or mountain lion than you are by a shark. *****

How to Check Shark Attacks

First and foremost, if you want to be sure a shark won't assail you ? don't go in the ocean. Next on the list is, don't go in the water if you see a shark, and then don't go in if you're bleeding-sharks can expose even detailed amounts of blood from very far away (this applies even to menstruating women). The Florida Museum of Actual Chronicle Ichthyology Administrative area offers these other shark security tips:

* Swim in groups-sharks are most apt to argue with a anyone who's alone.

* Don't swim too far from shore (you're further than away from help and more isolated).

* Don't go in the water at night or for the duration of sundown hours when sharks are most active.

* Leave shiny earrings at home-a shark could confound it for shiny fish scales.

* Don't swim in areas used by advertisement or sport fisherman where bait is used often (if there are diving seabirds around, it's expected this is the case).

* Don't swim if you have an disproportionate tan-sharks don't like tan lines! (seriously, the disparity could be a focus for them).

* The same goes for cheerful dyed clothing-sharks may be attracted to it.

* Don't dash excessively or swim with pets (who may batter about and appeal to a shark).

* Be cautious about steep drop-offs or when amid sandbars (these are two areas sharks love).

What to do if a Shark Attacks

In the dodgy event that a shark does act of violence ? swim ? and fast. Seriously, if you see a shark the best thing to do is stay calm and swim quickly, but smoothly, back to the shore or surface.

If the shark in reality attacks, you ought to first try to hit it on the tip of its nose (use anything you have with you-a spear or camera if you're diving, a surfboard as Letch did, or your own fist). The shark ought to go away long adequate for you to calmly, but quickly, swim away (Discomforting side note: If you can't get away, and the shark comes back, bass beat it on the nose will befall less and less effective).

If the shark bites and you're stuck in its mouth, be as aggressive as you can. Go for the aware areas of the eyes and gill openings and hit the shark, hard. Don't "play dead," as this won't help. As soon as the shark releases, get out of the water as briefly as you can (don't hang about since once there's blood in the water, the shark will apt come back to assail again).

Chances are very, very small of being attacked by a shark, though, so don't let Hollywood's account of a man-eating Jaws (or the disconcerting similes of the film "Open Water") keep you from enjoying the surf.

If it makes you feel any better, there are adequate of other belongings to worry about while you're at the beach that are more expected to come about than a shark act of violence ? effects like dehydration, jellyfish and stingray stings, biting your foot on a seashell, sunburn, and sand receiving blocked in clandestine places, just to name a few.



Seattle Post-Intelligencer April 19, 2005

International Shark Argument File


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