Here are the most common ways sharks attack and how to survive — and avoid — them

A Great White Shark surfaces from the water near a person’s outstretched hand.

Education Images/Universal Images Group/Getty Images

The top five most common places for shark attacks are the US, Australia, and South Africa.
The most common culprits are great white sharks, tiger sharks, and bull sharks.
If you see a shark, get out of the water. If you can’t, fight back with whatever you have and aim for the gill or eyes.

You’re probably not going to get attacked by a shark.

In 2022, there were 81 unprovoked shark attacks around the world and five people were killed. This was down from nine deaths in 2021 and 10 deaths in 2020, according to the University of Florida’s International Shark Attack File

Overall, the odds of getting attacked by a shark are low, and there are things you can do to lower those odds even more.

Chances are you’re not likely to get attacked by a shark.
A great white shark swims close to the Cape Cod shore in Chatham, Massachusetts, near a boat.

Wayne Davis/Atlantic White Shark Conservancy/AP

Between 1950 and 2020, unprovoked shark attacks increased from an average of 50 shark attacks per year to 80 shark attacks per year.
A lifeguard drives on a California beach where a surfer was killed earlier in a shark attack.

Karl Mondon/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images

Unprovoked means any shark attack that occurs with no human provocation. 

To get a clearer picture, population growth needs to be factored in. The global population has increased from 2.5 billion to 8 billion over the same period, meaning the rate of shark attacks has actually fallen from .012 shark attackers per million people in 2050 to .010 shark attackers per million people in 2020.

The top five most common places for shark attacks are the US, in particular Florida, North and South Carolina, Hawaii, and California. South Africa, Australia, Brazil, Réunion Island, and the Bahamas are also known for the highest attack rates.

“When you’re in the water, if you’re in a healthy marine ecosystem … you’re often never more than 100 yards from a shark,” Jeff Corwin, an American biologist and wildlife conservationist, told CBS News.

If you’re going to get attacked, the most likely culprits will be great white sharks, tiger sharks, and bull sharks.
Roy Scheider as Amity police chief Brody battles a great white shark in a scene from the 1975 Steven Spielberg movie, “Jaws.”

Screen Archives/Getty Images

Great white sharks are big and powerful, and unlike other sharks, they have good vision and like to hunt in clear water.

They tend to come from below and kill their prey with one brutal bite. 

Great white sharks are probably the most famous shark thanks to the classic film “Jaws.”

Tiger sharks are large, curious, and aggressive.
A tiger shark swimming in the water near the Bahamas.

Reinhard Dirscherl/Ullstein Bild/Getty Images

But of the three, bull sharks are considered the most dangerous.
A bull shark swimming on the sandy bottom of the Caribbean Sea.

Alexis Rosenfeld/Getty Images

They are aggressive, can weigh up to 285 pounds, and hunt near the coast in shallow waters, often at less than a hundred feet deep. 

They also tend to hunt in fresh water, like rivers and estuaries.

There are a number of other sharks that are less likely to attack but still could, including hammerheads, makos, whitetips, and reef sharks.
A hammerhead shark swimming near Ecuador.

Reinhard Dirscherl/Ullstein Bild/Getty Images

There are three main types of unprovoked shark attacks. The first is known as the “hit and run.”
Mick Fanning, an Australian surfer, swimming near a shark whose fin surfaced in the waters near South Africa.

WSL/World Surf League/Getty Images

This covers most shark attacks that occur in waves near the shore, usually involving surfers or people swimming. Often, the shark will take a single bite of a surfer or a swimmer, and then disappear without being seen. 

Experts believe this is because sharks confuse people for prey due to bad water visibility, strong currents, and crashing surf. 

“A shark has got no paws or hands, so if it wants to explore something, the only capability it’s got to do that is to put it in its mouth,” Richard Peirce, former Shark Conservation Society Chair, told CNN.

“That’s why we often get exploratory bites which don’t result in death and sometimes don’t even result in serious injury,” he added.

The next type of attack is called the “bump and bite.” This is usually when a shark attacks divers or people swimming in deep water.
A great white shark in the Pacific Ocean.

Reinhard Dirscherl/Ullstein Bild/Getty Images

Finally, there’s the “sneak” attack, which is similar to the “bump and bite,” except that there’s no circling.
A great white shark in the Pacific Ocean near Mexico.

Reinhard Dirscherl/Ullstein Bild/Getty Images

The shark offers no warning before attacking.

To limit your chances of being attacked by a shark, avoid swimming in estuaries and deep channels between sandbars and the shore.
An aerial view of three estuaries on South Carolina’s coast.

Marli Miller/UCG/Universal Images Group/Getty Images

“Visibility is a huge factor in shark attacks,” George Burgess, former director of the International Shark Attack File at the University of Florida, told National Geographic.

“That’s one of the reasons we suggest that people avoid murky water situations when they go into the water,” he continued.

You should avoid any water where there are fishing boats, where seabirds are diving, or where dolphins are swimming.
A sky full of gannets diving for mackerel near the Shetland Islands.

Education Images/Universal Images Group/Getty Images

You should also avoid areas where sharks have recently been spotted, or swimming out too far on your own.
A sign on a beach after a shark attack in Cape Cod.

Wendy Maeda/The Boston Globe/Getty Images

Timing your swim can make a difference, too. Dusk and dawn are the most common times for a shark attack because it’s when they usually hunt.
Friends and family of Adam Strange, the victim of a fatal shark attack walk toward Muriwai Beach for a sunset farewell in Auckland, New Zealand.

Sandra Mu/Getty Images

“A lot of shark attacks are cases of mistaken identity due to reduced visibility and identification ability on the behalf of the shark,” Peirce told CNN.

What you wear can also have an impact.
A great white shark eating fish in the Pacific Ocean near California.

Reinhard Dirscherl/Ullstein Bild/Getty Images

Jewelry could get a shark’s attention because it resembles fish scales, and bright swimming wear can also easily be spotted by a shark

Sharks can also detect body fluids like urine or blood. Some experts advise avoiding swimming if you are menstruating, though the gender ratio of shark bites is 8 men for every 2 women.

If you do end up face-to-face with a shark, don’t panic. The best thing to do is try to get out of the water without splashing too much.
Competitors race towards the finish line at the end of the annual Shark Island Swim off South Cronulla beach in Australia.

Craig Golding/Sydney Morning Herald/Fairfax Media/Getty Images

Burgess told Insider in 2017 that because surfers often see sharks, they get used to the sight and don’t always get out of the water, but they should.

If you’re surfing, kayaking, or paddle boarding and you can’t get out of the water, put the board or kayak between you and the shark.
Simon Letch, who was attacked by a shark while surfing, poses for a photo with his board with bite marks from a shark.

Fairfax Media via Getty Images

If you’re near a surface, like a reef, get your back against it so that the shark has fewer places to attack you from.

If you can, look directly at the shark. Because sharks like to ambush their prey, this can stop them from feeling comfortable before they attack. 

“If you’re turning around and facing it the whole time while it circles you, it’s not going to be half as comfortable as if it’s able to sneak up from behind,” Peirce told CNN.

If you can’t get out of the water, then you may need to defend yourself. Experts advise aiming for a shark’s gills, eyes, or nose.
A great white shark in Mexico.

Reinhard Dirscherl/Ullstein Bild/Getty Images

Burgess told Insider the nose was one of the shark’s most sensitive spots, and a good hit could give you enough time to get out of the water. 

However, Sara Waries, the CEO at Shark Spotters in Cape Town, also told The New York Times to be careful when striking the nose as it’s “dangerously close to the teeth.”

If you have anything on you like a camera, a snorkel, or perhaps a speargun, use it to attack the shark. If the shark does bite you, then try to attack its eyes and gills again. 

Burgess told Insider there had been instances where a shark has let a person go after the person has hit it in the eyes or gills.

Chris Lowe, director of the Shark Lab at California State University, Long Beach, told Time the worst thing you can do is play dead.
A great white shark with a chunk of horse meat in its mouth hung near an underwater cage.

Bettmann/Getty Images

He said sharks were scavengers and they won’t throw away an easy dinner.

If you are bitten by a shark and manage to get away, your last step is to get out of the water as soon as you can and stop any bleeding.
Warning signs by entrance to Nauset Town Beach at Cape Cod.

David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Read the original article on Business Insider

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *