We don’t know why sharks bite people

We don’t know why sharks bite people


I can’t really think of any other animal that gets as much press as sharks. There are very few animals that have a whole week of television programming dedicated to them. In fact, I would argue it’s built into our DNA to like things that are a little scary. It’s been a challenge in terms of getting good science and good behavior information to the public to show them that the way they’re portrayed in the movies isn’t how sharks actually act. It’s human nature to want to know why sharks bite people and the simple reality of it is we don’t know. We clearly know they’re not interested in eating people because places like Santa Monica Bay or Waikiki Beach would be a Costco for sharks. Southern California is known as a nursery for white sharks in the Northeast Pacific. One of the things that we’ve noted in the last 10 years is that the number of baby white sharks has been steadily rising. The reason why we think the white shark population is increasing is really based on the fact that they’ve been protected. These young sharks are using some of the most heavily populated beaches on the entire West Coast. We have to learn more about the behavior, so we can increase that knowledge, and get that knowledge to the public, so that we can continue to share the waves with the sharks, and be safe when we do so. So by using drones, underwater cameras, smart tags, all these technologies combined together are enabling us to put together the world around the shark. This is an acoustic transmitter. So these are the types that we can dart into a shark’s back. So as a shark’s swimming around, if it gets within 500 yards of one of our underwater receivers, the receiver will log the time and date that the shark came by. So all summer long, we’ve had a lot of activity. All the sharks that are being sighted are what we call white sharks. We’ve got a decent size one down where the helicopters are right now. Our most successful method so far has been this dart tagging method where we either tag sharks from a boat, or we tag them from a jet ski. One of the things that we’re learning is that the sharks are getting more savvy. They’re getting more difficult to approach from a boat. In addition, the visibility in the water here is not very good. So the sharks only have to go about two feet beneath the surface, and we no longer spot them. Got it! The shark that I did tag, appeared to be clear. We didn’t see any other tags in it, and it was a good tag. So hopefully we’ll get a lot of information from that shark over the next couple months, and even the next few years. This is one of the devices that’s out listening for sharks all the time. This is the hydrophone. This is the actual listening part, and then the computer part is in here. So we work closely with many of the lifeguards in Southern California to develop protocols. If sharks are over eight feet, there’s a good chance that it is a white shark. Larger sharks are more likely to approach people than the smaller ones. Therefore, if a shark is confirmed shark sighting of over eight feet, lifeguards may elect to pull people out of the water. If the water visibility is really poor, and there are notices of sharks being in the areas, that’s when accidents may happen. It may be that they’re mistaking them for their normal prey because visibility is poor. The other possibility is sharks are biting people for defensive reasons. Every animal has a personal space. If you get in a shark’s personal space, and you don’t even know the sharks are there, and the sharks are warning, and warning, warning. Finally it says, “OK, I warned you,” comes over, takes a bite. The person leaves the area. Problem solved for the shark. So when you consider how many people use the ocean on a daily basis in Southern California, and the likelihood of being bitten by a shark is so infinitesimally small, that it almost seems crazy to worry about. I always relate your chances of being bit by a shark is the same likelihood of winning the Powerball. It’s that small.

28 thoughts on “We don’t know why sharks bite people

  1. Because humans are food. Mystery solved, now send me my cut of the HUGE government grant you're heisting from my tax money.

  2. Well Duh. Humans making splashes attract the sharks. If a human got a cut from something underwater they can smell their blood. There, problem solved.

  3. Could it be that as soon as you get in the water you become part of the food chain. And people , there is no menu there just nature and nature is no kind

  4. I read about this . The reason that sharks bite people is that if u are in the water and you start making that clapping noise , they are attracted to that noise and they mistake u for a fish . Also, when a shark bites a human , it usually realizes that your not a shark and leaves . Sharks are not trying to hurt humans ( but this information could be wrong so don’t judge me😂)

  5. This is the most stupid question ever – because they are carnivores, and the size of their brains are tiny, therefore making human interaction a generally unfriendly event.

  6. Because a lot of people are dressed in wetsuits, and they end up looking like seals, like surfers. When people end up freaking out because they see a shark doesn't help either, as sharks think that it's their prey in distress. It's also curiosity, any animal has it when they're the top of the food chain

  7. we used to know why sharks bite us… but all the fluoride in tap water has degenerated our brains so much, we forgot what sharks like to eat

  8. I still feel like I could buy a Powerball ticket every week for a year, and go in the ocean once a year, and I would still be more likely to be bitten by a shark. Just because if one of two things can happen to you the worse one always seems more likely.

  9. Why should it be a point that people use the ocean on a daily basis in California when people use the ocean on a daily basis all around the world? Americans never seize to amaze me and why should they? They seem to think that the whole world revolves around them and maybe they are right somewhere in that marble sized brain. Sharks do like their space…. Like any other living thing.

  10. "we dont know why sharks bite people".. its a fucking shark.. its basically a swimming pair of teeth.

  11. I no why they bite people, because they scavengers of the sea. They will attack and bite anything very clever animals

  12. No, don't say that sharks will only bite, one in a million people … If you enter the ocean … you will be bitten eventually … I nearly got killed 8 times .. Kurnell, Australia .. Cronulla, and Bundeena … 15ft great white, (pushed it's nose, so it didn't attack, then I climbed a 5ft pole and it got a run up and jumped over the pole .. then 20yrs later A mako jumped on my head, while kayaking .. on a small wave … And 6 more ..

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