More swimmers head into the water in the summer, and with the increased population comes a greater likelihood of shark attacks.
Experts are confident that the chances of getting bitten remain very small, but a little preparation also wouldn’t hurt.
Why Aggressiveness Matters
According to the latest available data, shark attacks on humans remain very rare, with the odds only one in 11.5 million. In 2016, there were only four human deaths worldwide attributed to a shark bite.
But then again, they still happen. Back in April, a 17-year-old girl in Kentucky punched a shark several times in the face and mouth when it sunk its teeth into her leg while on a swimming trip in Florida. She used both hands, and the shark fortunately swam away. The teen made it out alive despite having needed 80 or so stitches. .
In the rare occasion that a shark attacks, the best response is to fight back, said marine biologist Chris Lowe, favoring a blow to its nose or a jab in its eyes to encourage it to back off.
“You want to be aggressive because sharks appreciate size and power,” added George Burgess, Florida Museum of Natural History’s curator for its International Shark Attack File (ISAF).
If you decide to fight like hell, note that the nose, eyes, as well as gills are highly sensitive and prove necessary for the creature’s survival.
The worst thing to do, according to experts, is to play dead, since sharks are scavengers known to eat dead prey. Doing so could make an attack victim an easy meal.
How To Avoid Shark Attacks In The First Place
1. Stay away from the mouths of rivers following heavy rains, as it’s the time when freshwater creatures are swept out to sea.
2. Steer clear of fishing boats, as they often draw sharks because they trail fish remains and blood.
3. Stay on the beach if you are bleeding or menstruating, since sharks could smell or taste even the tiniest amount of blood nearby. Get out if you happen to cut or injure yourself in the water.
4. Avoid large groups of fish, sea lions, or seals, which are all part of a shark’s menu. Stay away from large dolphin and seabird groups, too, as they are attracted to the same diet that sharks feast on.
5. Stay out of the water at night, dusk, or dawn, when certain shark species potentially move inshore to consume fish. Murky waters and harbor entrances are also frequented by these animals.
6. Swim or surf with other people, as sharks typically attack individuals. Don’t wander too far from the shore.