There are few images more terrifying than the open mouth of a monstrous shark as it lunges toward its prey with dozens of sharp teeth ready to chomp.
But don’t worry. The fact is, this image isn’t all that common.
As National Geographic reports, there is a one in 3,748,067 chance you could be attacked and killed by a shark.
According to Reference, there are more than 465 known species of sharks, ranging in size from the 7-inch spined pygmy shark to the 50-foot-long whale shark. Many of these cartilaginous swimmers eat fish, crustaceans, mollusks, plankton, krill, marine mammals, and other sharks, fisher science education reports.
According to the Florida Panhandle’s Interactive Shark Data, “there is zero proof that sharks hunt people and we know that humans are not part of sharks’ natural diets. Typically, when a shark attacks a human, the shark is either confused or curious.”
In contrast, a shark that is hunting seal or fish, for example, will travel at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour, most often attacking from below and sending the hunted animal flying through the air, the Smithsonian reports.
Each year, only about 100 unprovoked shark attacks are reported around the world.
“The risk is almost non-existent,” Florida Panhandle reports. “Although humans kill approximately 100 million sharks annually, sharks kill as few as five humans each year. Humans have a higher chance of being killed by a flying champagne cork, accidental poisoning, or lightning. In addition, the chances of being injured by a shark while swimming in the ocean is far smaller than being injured by a power tool.”
Sharks have played an important role in all ocean ecosystems for eons. According to the Smithsonian, sharks and their relatives were the first vertebrate predators. Their hunting skill and strength has developed over millions of years of evolution, and keeps marine ecosystems in balance.
Instead of fearing sharks, we can learn more about these magnificent fish, and heed the warnings related to swimming in shark waters. Here are some shark facts from Florida Panhandle’s Interactive Shark Data that may surprise you:
- In the last 20 years, more shark attacks occurred on Saturdays than on other days of the week.
- Tiger Sharks, Great White Sharks, Bull Sharks, Blacktip Reef Sharks and Sand Sharks attacked most frequently of the known attacks in the last 20 years.
- In the last 20 years, morning is the time of day when most attacks occurred.
99% of all shark attacks were unprovoked in the last 20 years.
- In the last 20 years, more shark attacks happened in July than in any other month.
- The USA, Australia, and Africa had the most shark attacks in the last 20 years.
- Fatality rates are higher for shark attack victims in Africa and France over the last 20 years.
- The Australian Institute of Marine Science reports that there are approximately 10 deaths attributed to shark attacks (in comparison to 150 deaths worldwide caused by falling coconuts) every year worldwide.
- You have a one in 218 chance of dying from a fall but a one in 3.7 million chance of being killed by a shark, National Geographic reports.
- The most common place to be attacked by a shark in the US is Florida. (Hawaii, California and South Carolina are in the top 4)
- You have an 89.4% chance of surviving a shark attack.
This article by Matthew Russell was first published by The Animal Rescue Site. Lead Image: There is a one in 3,748,067 chance you could be attacked and killed by a shark. PHOTO: ADOBE STOCK / CARLOS GRILLO – THERE IS A ONE IN 3,748,067 CHANCE YOU COULD BE ATTACKED AND KILLED BY A SHARK.
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