When Do Sharks Attack Humans?
Some sharks may attack human beings if attracted by underwater noises, erratic swimming, and the presence of a large number of bathers, or the glint of jewelry or some other article. But probably the greatest provocation to a shark is the presence of blood, for instance from a speared fish or live bait.
Sharks are most likely to attack during the daytime, the areas of greatest danger being those where the sea temperature is between 16 degree and 21 degree Centigrade (60 degree and 70 degree Fahrenheit). Most attacks seem to occur about 200 to 300 feet from the shore where the water is shallow-or no more than two or three feet in depth.
There are two different kinds of shark attacks — provoked and unprovoked. Provoked shark attacks are pretty easy to explain. After all, if someone hurts you or disturbs you, you usually fight back. Sometimes though, we don’t know when we are disturbing the sharks. We wander into their territory without knowing it and then they attack to make us go away. This usually happens to surfers and divers.
Unprovoked shark attacks are when the great white shark attacks without any warning, and seemingly without any reason. Among the kinds of sharks known to attack human beings are the tiger and the blue and gray nurse sharks. The most feared of all the shark family is the great white shark, a powerful and aggressive creature.
What Causes Sharks to Attacks Humans?
Sharks do not normally hunt humans. When they do attack a human, it is usually a case of mistaken identity. Shark sometimes mistake humans for its natural prey, such as fish or a marine mammal or sea turtle, and most often will release the person after the first bite. The majority of shark bites are “hit-and-run” attacks by smaller species, such as blacktip and spinner sharks. They mistake thrashing arms or dangling feet as prey, dart in, bite, and let go when they realize it’s not a fish. The “big three” species — bull, tiger, and great white sharks –are big enough to do a lot of damage to a human and must be treated with respect and caution.
You can take precautions that minimize your risk of encountering a shark when visiting the beach this summer:
- Always stay in groups since sharks are more likely to attack an individual. Do not wander too far from shore — this isolates you and decreases your chance of being rescued.
- Avoid being in the water early in the morning and during darkness or twilight hours when sharks are most active and searching for food.
- Do not enter the water if bleeding.
- Avoid wearing shiny jewelry because the reflected light resembles the sheen of fish scales.
- Avoid waters being used by sport or commercial fisherman, especially if there are signs of bait fishes or feeding activity. Diving seabirds are good indicators of such action.
- Use extra caution when waters are murky and avoid bright colored clothing — sharks see contrast particularly well. Refrain from excess splashing.
- Exercise caution when occupying the area between sandbars or near steep drop-offs — these are favorite hangouts for sharks.
- Do not enter the water if sharks are known to be present and evacuate the water if sharks are seen while there. And do not approach a shark if you see one.
- Between the months of 5-9, restrict your ocean swimming from 9-5.