What does a shark attack feel like?
While each survivor describes the experience differently, a common description from shark attack survivors is the attack feels similar to being punched or bumped. Some survivors have even recounted no pain at all! While the idea of a shark attack not hurting sounds inexplicable, shock and/or fight or flight with a huge adrenaline rush is a logical explanation. One thing is for certain, the survivors definitely all describe it as an harrowing experience once they are out of the water and the shock and adrenaline have worn off!
Why are some areas including the eastern US, southern Australia, and Hawaii experiencing sharp increases in the annual number of shark attacks?
As you might expect, the annualized shark attack numbers correlate strongly to localized shark populations and the number of people frequenting the oceanic waters. The population of swimmers has increased and, as you would expect, so have the number of attacks. In addition, some of these areas have seen increases in shark population due to environmental factors.
Sharks scare me! If I swim at the beach, what are the chances of being attacked?
First, it is important to note that you should always obey the written or verbal guidance from local officials, lifeguards, and experts. Heeding these warnings can help keep you safe and lower the shark attack numbers. In the United States, your approximate chances of being attacked are one in 5,000,000 1 while in Australia the chances are one in 2,000,000. 2
How likely is death by shark attack?
Simply put, the risk is almost non-existent. 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. 3
What should I do if attacked by a shark?
You will want to maintain eye contact with the shark and use a hard object (or your hands) to jab the nose, gills, and eyes. Remember, to position yourself in a manner to minimize a bite to the neck or face. Get out of the water at your first opportunity, but don’t turn your back on the shark! Sharks can swim at over 30mph (compared to Michael Phelps 4.7mph) and you won’t outswim them. Once out of the water, apply pressure to the wounds and get immediate medical attention.
Do sharks actively hunt humans?
There is no evidence that sharks actively hunt humans. In fact, humans are oftentimes in the vicinity of sharks and an attack does not occur. Relative to the worldwide beach and oceanic water statistics, the number of shark attacks is incredibly small. At the global level, there are typically less than 100 attacks annually.