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Shark Week: Shark Attacks [infographic]

  • Tiger Shark, The Ocean's Garbage Can
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Since 1580 the International Shark Attack File has recorded thousands of shark attacks and hundreds of fatalities. Why then, you may ask yourself, have the 3 deadliest sharks only accounted for 117 (65, 27, and 25, respectively) of those deaths? The simple answer is that many shark-related deaths are difficult to report. Tooth remains are seldom found in wounds and are often difficult to discern even by trained professionals. Sharks may also kill victims before witnesses (when present) have a chance to identify species.

That said, it’s no surprise that the white, tiger, and bull shark are the “Big Three” in shark attacks worldwide due to their inherent size, presence in areas where humans enter water, and teeth designed to shear rather than hold. Speaking of size, humans are definitely at a bit of a disadvantage in the water. Consider these statistics next time you’re thinking about picking a fight with a shark:

  • Human: Average 165 pounds
  • Bull Shark: Up to 700 pounds
  • Tiger Shark: Up to 1,400 pounds
  • Great White Shark: Up to 5,000 pounds
Shark Week: Shark Attacks [infographic]

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  • Chad

    I can’t help but wonder if there are more “reported” attacks in the U.S. because we’re more likely to report & record such statistics.  Has India been keeping accurate records for very long?  Also we’re more likely to “pass our time” at the beach and in the water here in the U.S.  Having lived in a coastal community in Africa for a while I can say that they didn’t have the means or time to go “hang out” at the beach surfing & swimming.  Because of our circumstances here in the U.S. (generally speaking) we provide the sharks with more opportunities to attack than probably happens in many less fortunate areas of the world.  Fascinating post and I’m glad the family went on vacation to So Cal the week before Shark Week and not the week after.

    • Joseph LeBaron

      Chad, there are some interesting graphs found on the Florida Museum of Natural History site. They are the institution who tracks all shark attacks in the world. The graphs on the link below show what people where doing at the time they were attacked.

      You can see the dramatic increase in the last 20 years of attacks on “surface recreationists” which is surfers, body boarders, kayakers etc. Scientists suggest that people on boards or boats look like seals from below, they are in deeper water, and thus prime for an attack from a larger shark.

      Glad you made it back safely from CA.

    • Anonymous

      Sharks love to eat seals because they have so much blubber. Maybe the American obesity epidemic has something to do with the high shark attack count.

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