A Shark’s Deadly Reality


Quinley Woods

 When we think about fears, what comes to mind? Heights, spiders, small spaces, flying, family reunions, or long words? What about sharks? 

If it is sharks, why is that? Is it the sharp teeth and beady eyes, or all the National Geographic episodes showing them mutilating seals? 

If this fear has led you to staying on the beach fearing what lurks in the deep blue ocean, let me reassure you the likelihood of you or someone you know getting attacked by a shark is microscopic. 

Maggy Hunter Benson, writer for the Smithsonian, wrote, Your chances of being the victim of an unprovoked shark encounter are lower than your chances of being struck by lightning, injured in a hunting accident, or even attacked by a domestic dog.” 

Sharks are very smart and very curious creatures, “The sharks aren’t trying to hurt people,” Benson says. If a shark sees something it has yet to encounter in its years, they take a test bite, to see if whatever it is, is food. 

But sharks are timid and scared of humans so there’s a small window of a chance that, what it’s testing will be you. 

(This picture shows shark attack statistics-Curiosity staff

But let’s look at something that you’d never expect to be more dangerous than a shark. The deadly vending machine.

More people die from trying to get a snack from a vending machine (2.18 a year) then the 1 in 3,748,067 people who do swimming at the beach.

Or playing high school/college football. Injuries during games claim an average of 12 lives annually. 

But on the flipside 100 million sharks a year are killed by humans, 11,417 every hour. The incentive being, the shark fin trade, to feed the expensive appetites for shark fin soup-an Asian delicacy-which can sell for as much as $100, says an NatGeo article -100 Million Sharks Killed Every Yea r- which touches more on the legality of shark hunting and the slowly declining shark population.

Sharks are misunderstood, there are nearly 500 species of sharks, and only about 12 are potentially dangerous towards humans.

They are wild animals, and can be incredibly dangerous if not taken seriously. But are much more scared than us than we are of them. 

The statistics of shark attacks can even lessen if you just stay aware – remember the ocean it is their home. If it’s overcast or stormy, “Incoming storms can cause the tide to stir up baitfish, and we want to avoid getting in the way of sharks and their prey.” Said Christopher Neff, a shark attack expert. 

Don’t swim at dawn or dusk, sharks are active hunters during these times, and visibility is low which can lead to being bitten, confused for food. 

And don’t swim alone and stay near the shore. Sharks rarely attack if in a group, and staying near the shore puts you at a distance. 

And with a shark’s heightened sense of smell, never enter the ocean if you are bleeding, sharks can smell, taste and track blood from miles away. 

Sharks aren’t just monstrous teeth, the species is over 455 million years old, making them older than trees. The earliest tree was found to live around 350 million years ago. 

Sharks play a very important role in the ecosystem, by maintaining the species that are lower than them on the food chain. Sharks also help by consuming sick and unhealthy ocean life. 

They are apex predators, meaning they have no known natural predators, so keeping other species in check is important.

Sharks have been on the earth a lot longer than humans, hundreds of millions of years longer. With their numbers declining quickly due to overfishing, this species demands attention. It should be brought  to light how wonderful and important to the natural order of marine life, and essentially all life, these creatures are.