What are sharks?
They're a type of fish. Scientists have found
over 340 different species of living Sharks,
and fossils that show sharks have been
swimming around the world's oceans for
430 million years.
They are of course best known for
attacking and eating humans,
but in reality most sharks are harmless to man.
What happens is that every year there are
a small number of horrific attacks
on swimmers and surfers.
These get a lot of coverage in the media,
that means when people hear the word
shark they think - danger.
Why do sharks attack people?
it's a mistake,
they actually think they're biting a fish or a seal.
That won't improve your mood if you're the person
getting bitten but it might explain*
why most shark attacks are non-fatal.
They take a bite, don't like it and swim off.
Other attacks happen when humans stray
into an area of the sea that the
shark considers its own.
The shark hits back to defend its territory.
Cases when a shark specifically targets
a human are very rare, George Burgess,
of the University of Florida has estimated
this only happens about once a year
* Some experts say non-fatal attacks can
also happen when the shark takes a bite,then
swims away to allow you to bleed to death.
At this point most humans are
rescued by people nearby.
Should I be scared of sharks?
Probably not. You
are more likely to be
killed by a lightning strike or a bee sting
than by a shark attack.
Attacks are extremely rare and
most are not life-threatening.
Sharks attack about 50-75 people each year
worldwide and cause around eight deaths.
But that's a very, very low number compared
to the hundreds of millions of hours that
humans spend swimming in the sea.
Many of the deaths and injuries could
have been avoided by following simple
rules that reduce the risks from sharks.
If anyone should be scared
it's actually the sharks.
Every year humans kill millions of
them for their fins, meat and skin.
Some species are now close to
extinction because of hunting.
Sharks safety tips
People don't get injured in UK waters by
shark attacks, but if you are somewhere
that does have a problem remember to
follow these rules.
-Don't swim alone.
-Swim in guarded areas.
-Avoid swimming at dusk.
-Don't swim with bleeding wounds.
-Avoid murky water.
-Don't wear bright jewellery
or high contrasting colors.
-Don't splash more than you have to.
-Don't swim if sharks are known to be around.
-Watch out if you see turtles and fish
fleeing the area, or forming into big shoals.
-If you go fishing, always remove
speared or hooked fish from the water.
Most dangerous sharks
There are over 340 known types of shark,
32 of these species have been
reported as attacking humans.
Any shark that's 2m or longer can be
dangerous but there are three species
that have been involved in a lot of attacks.
These are all big sharks that normally
feed on marine mammals like seals.
The Great Whites have been involved
in the most attacks worldwide.
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