Florida Is The Shark Bite Capital Of The World: Here’s How To Stay Safe
Florida is the shark attack capital of the world. Here’s what you need to know about how they happen and how to reduce your chances of being bitten.
The Daytona Beach Daily News
Hopefully, that’s something you’ll never hear someone yell at your favorite beach in Florida. There’s a very good chance you never will.
According to the Florida Museum at the University of Florida, the chances of being bitten by a shark are very small (1:3.7 million) compared to other animal encounters, natural disasters, and ocean hazards. Many more people drown in the ocean each year than are bitten by sharks. The few bites that occur each year are an excellent indication that sharks do not feed on humans and that most bites are simply due to mistaken identity.
The fact is, sharks are “out there” and it never hurts to take the “just in case” approach. We reached out to Florida Fish and Wildlife experts and here’s what they recommended regarding sharks and further reduced the chances of being bitten:
- Always stay in groups as sharks are more likely to bite a lone individual.
- Don’t go too far from the coast; this isolates a person and distances them from help.
- Avoid being in the water during darkness or twilight when sharks are most active.
- Do not enter the water if you are bleeding from an open wound or if you are menstruating: a shark’s ability to smell blood is acute.
- Shiny jewelry is discouraged. When the light reflects off the shiny jewelry, it resembles the shine of fish scales.
- Avoid waters with known discharges or sewage and waters used for any type of fishing, especially if there are signs of baiting or feeding activity. Diving seabirds, which often feed on baitfish, are good indicators of such activity.
- While there are myths and anecdotes about dolphins saving humans from shark bites, the presence of dolphins does not indicate the absence of sharks; both usually eat the same foods.
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- Be very careful when the waters are cloudy.
- Remember that sharks see contrast particularly well. Uneven tans and brightly colored clothing can attract a shark’s attention.
- Refrain from excessive splashing, as this can attract a shark’s attention.
- Don’t allow pets in the water – their erratic movements can draw the attention of a shark.
- Be careful when occupying the area between shoals or near steep drop-offs – these are favorite haunts of sharks.
- Swim only in areas staffed by lifeguards.
- Do not enter the water if sharks are known to be present, and get out of the water if you see sharks.
- Never harass a shark!
What about alligators?
Tips: If you come across an alligator: Sanibel Attack: What can you do to avoid getting hurt by alligators?
What about the bears?
Tips: If you come across a bear: From screams to gunshots, how a Jacksonville zookeeper survived a gruesome black bear attack