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?

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 July 28, 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 July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Newsy (July 28, 2014) The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck at the worst time for them. A new study says that if it hit earlier or later, they might've survived. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Newsy (July 27, 2014) The satellite is back under ground control after a tense few days, but with a gecko sex experiment on board, the media just couldn't help themselves. 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:
from the past week

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