Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Shark Attack Worries? Driving To The Beach Is More Deadly

Date:
June 30, 2005
Source:
Texas A&M University
Summary:
Which is more likely to happen - you being in a car wreck or being bitten by a shark? Those who answered that cars are greater killers win a free trip to the beach. It's really no contest, says a Texas A&M University professor. Your chances of being in a wreck are far greater than being a shark's lunch, says John McEachran, a professor of wildlife and fishery sciences who has studied sharks for years.

White Shark off the California coast.
Credit: NOAA

COLLEGE STATION, June 29, 2005 - Which is more likely to happen - you being in a car wreck or being bitten by a shark?

Related Articles


Those who answered that cars are greater killers win a free trip to the beach. It's really no contest, says a Texas A&M University professor. Your chances of being in a wreck are far greater than being a shark's lunch, says John McEachran, a professor of wildlife and fishery sciences who has studied sharks for years.

Worldwide, about one million people a year are killed in auto accidents, including more than 42,000 a year in the United States.

McEachran goes on to note that far more people die each year - about 90 worldwide - from an allergic reaction to eating peanuts.

Despite several attacks in Florida recently - one that killed a 14-year-old girl - shark attacks remain very rare when you put it all into perspective, McEachran believes.

"There are millions of people in the water at any given moment of the day," he notes.

"When you consider all of the people in the water at the same time, the number of shark attacks is very, very remote. Your chances of winning the lottery are greater than being attacked by a shark.

"But when a shark attack does occur, it makes big headlines. The drive you will make to the beach is far more dangerous, but an auto accident that kills several people will not make big headlines across the U.S. But a shark attack on one person will."

According to the International Shark Attack File, only seven fatalities occurred worldwide due to shark attack in 2004, there were only four in 2003, and only three in 2002.

Florida, with its large coastline and warm waters, leads all states with an average of about 30 shark attacks per year, followed by California (6), Texas (4), Hawaii (3), North Carolina (2) and Alabama, South Carolina and Oregon each reporting one.

McEachran says shark attacks are far less frequent causes of injury than driving, boating and diving accidents.

He says when most attacks occur, they happen in 3 to 4 feet of water. "But often, that can mean you're several hundred feet away from the beach," he notes. "Also, most attacks occur in water that is murky and not very clear.

"A greater percentage of beachgoers are injured by jellyfish, stingrays or hardhead and gafftop fishes, which have poisonous spines. They are more likely to cause harm than a shark."

He says when shark attacks occur, often they are accidental.

"Humans are not a shark's preferred food choice," he says.

"They don't regard the human shape as a prey item. Sometimes you hear reports of surfers having their boards hit by a shark, and it's probably because the board resembles the shape of a seal, which is a prime food source for sharks."

McEachran says some common sense can go a long way in avoiding contact with sharks.

"Sharks generally don't like to be around people," he adds.

"Most people are safe at the beach. To put your mind at ease, go to a beach that has lifeguards. They should be looking for possible sharks.

"Shark attacks are like airplane crashes," he notes. "The vast majority of airplane trips are safe, but when a crash occurs, it gets big headlines. If you use some good common sense in the water, you should be fine."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Texas A&M University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Texas A&M University. "Shark Attack Worries? Driving To The Beach Is More Deadly." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 June 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/06/050630063350.htm>.
Texas A&M University. (2005, June 30). Shark Attack Worries? Driving To The Beach Is More Deadly. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/06/050630063350.htm
Texas A&M University. "Shark Attack Worries? Driving To The Beach Is More Deadly." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/06/050630063350.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 23, 2014) Price check on honey? Bear cub startles Oregon drugstore shoppers. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) One man is on a mission to boost the population of wolves in China's violence-wracked far west. The animal - symbol of the Uighur minority there - is under threat with a massive human resettlement program in the region. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins