Shark attacks are the worst nightmare of people who love to go to the beach. You go out for a quick swim in the ocean waves, maybe do some surfing, and then are confronted with a beast from the sea that has super sharp teeth! The warmth of the Florida sun suddenly starts feeling quite cold indeed.
Florida led the world in 2013 in shark attack statistics. The amount of attacks in this state accounted for 50% of the total amount of reports.
Florida Shark Attacks
Why are so many people being attacked by sharks in Florida? Could it be the fact that more people go into the water in Florida because it is warmer? Or that there are more people per capita visiting the beach? Whatever the case may be, the unprovoked shark attacks in this state are problematic and the statistics should be carefully studied.
- The Great White Shark is the creature that strikes the most fear into people. It is responsible for nearly 300 reported attacks in history that are unprovoked and the shark can live for up to 60 years.
- Tiger sharks are only half the size of a Great White Shark, but they are just as aggressive. They are the second most likely shark to have an unprovoked attack on a human and they grow up to 14 feet in length.
- Hammerhead sharks aren’t very likely to attack a human, but there have been 17 unprovoked attacks reported. They are equal in size to a Great White Shark, but more difficult to defend against because of the structure of its head.
- Since 1580, the United States has more than double the amount of unprovoked shark attacks than any other nation or continent. Australia comes in second with about 600 reported attacks. In comparison, all of Europe has just 49 reports.
When looking at the statistics, it is easy to see why the Great White is such a feared shark. Where it tends to swim in the ocean is also where the reports of unprovoked shark attacks seem to congregate. This means that for the average swimmer in the US and Australia, it is incredibly important to be aware of what is around you at all times. Bring safety measures with you if you’re swimming in a high risk area and never enter the water after there have been confirmed attacks in a specific area. By being aware, the chances of a shark attack can become even lower, and that means you can have a good time on a warm day at the beach.
What Is Going On In The United States?
- Although shark attack statistics are remaining at normal levels in the rest of the world, the rates of authenticated attacks in the United States are steadily climbing.
- Despite the increase of attacks, a vast majority of victims are able to survive their encounter with a shark. Only two fatalities were reported in 2013 and none were in Florida.
- With an increased emphasis on animal protection in the US, natural prey for sharks is returning to seashores and this creates higher risks when this happens in human-used areas.
- When sharks are in warm waters, they need to eat more and this spurs on the hunting instinct and could affect the desire to attack a human.
- Although the amount of attacks seem high, when compared to the amount of people that enter the ocean every year, the number is actually just a fraction of 1% that become victims.
- A number of shark fishing zones have been turned into nature preserves and with the Great White being on the endangered list, hunting them is no longer an option. With higher population numbers, there is a greater likelihood to be more attacks.
So why Florida? It’s the perfect combination of people patterns and shark migratory patterns. As the sharks encounter humans, they are doing so in an area where waters are warmer. This makes the shark become hungrier and that drives the need to hunt prey. When a seal can’t be found to eat, what is going to be the next best thing? Probably a surfer that looks a bit like a seal from underneath the surface. There is one bit of good news about being attacked by a shark in the US – the fatality rates are dramatically lower. Just 1.9% of victims in the US are hurt fatally, compared to a 22% fatality rate elsewhere in the world.
Who Do The Sharks Target In Florida?
- Surfers and others who participate in some form of a board sport are the most likely to become a victim of a shark attack, accounting for 6 out of every 10 authentic incidents.
- Swimmers are less likely to be attacked, accounting for 22% of the total amount of shark attacks that occur.
- Divers are the least likely to experience a shark attack, accounting for just 8% of the total incidents that are on record.
- Most sharks will simply nudge a human to determine what they are and if they do bite, then tend to let go immediately because they realize it isn’t the prey that they want.
- Shark teeth actually have nerve endings in them that help them sense the fat of an animal, which is often preferable to the muscle and bone of a human.
- Being proactive and hitting a shark is often the most effective way to stop an attack. Clawing at its eyes and gills may also work, but passive action, such as going limp, will not usually work.
Most sharks are active during the twilight hours of the morning and evening, so enjoying a Florida beach at these times from the sand instead of the waves might be advisable when the waters are warm. Those who swim or surf by themselves are also at a greater risk of an attack and bleeding in the water is never a good thing. People who swim with their pets or wear jewelry that shines in the sun could also make them attractant – things that are common in Florida. By being smart about your beach encounter, the risks can be reduced. That way you won’t become just another statistic.