CPR First Aid

Which Species Are Most Likely to Result in Shark Attacks?

While not all that common, shark attacks are still a very serious and possibly fatal occurrence. Learn more about the species of sharks most likely to attack.

Very few things are as enjoyable as a relaxing day on the beach. 

Unfortunately, the beach holds many dangers that can serve to ruin a perfectly good day. What’s worse is that these dangers lay under the waters, biding their time until they take a big bite on an otherwise great experience.

One of these dangers is shark attacks. These fish are swift and ferocious, often stalking their prey until it is too late. 

In truth, there are over 300 species throughout the world. However, only a few of these species openly attack humans. It’s these species that we’ll be taking a closer look at. 

Let’s learn more about the types of sharks most likely to attack. 

The State of Shark Attacks

When looking at the statistics on shark attacks, a person could look at it and assume that they aren’t all that serious. On average, just over 70 attacks happen each year, with about a tenth of those attacks proving fatal. 

In 2020, Australia saw over 20 attacks. This comprises approximately 40% of all attacks. 

While attacks from this ferocious fish can happen at any time, there is a period where they happen more often. It takes place in the months between November and April. 

The long coasts of Australia play home to over 170 species. On an interesting note, all species that are known for attacking when unprovoked are also found in Australia. 

Shark attacks: 70/year, 10% fatal. Australia: 20 in 2020, 40% of global attacks.

The Shark Misconception

While obviously dangerous, people often mistake the shark for a monstrous and hungry creature. This is a misconception. The truth is that sharks aren’t dangerous to people, at least not directly. Just like many other creatures, they share a healthy fear of people. 

Oftentimes, confusion and curiosity are found as the cornerstone for attacks. Other marine biologists suspect that the encroachment on their habitats, as well as the warming of waters and changes in water quality has driven them closer to the shores.

It is important to understand which species are most likely to attack as this can help people take the necessary precautions. That being said, here are the top five species that attack humans.

Species Most Likely to Result in Shark Attacks

Tiger Shark

Easily, one of the most dangerous species in the world is the tiger shark. Reaching lengths of up to 16 feet (4.9 metres), the tiger shark gets its name from the stripes found on its body. 

The colouring of a tiger shark can be grey, blue, or green with a white belly.

The tiger shark is one of the very few species that will eat just about anything. This includes other shark species, dolphins, seals, birds, and even garbage. They’ve been known to eat tires, licence plates, and other inedible objects.

While typically not aggressive towards humans, they are known to attack when provoked or confused. There have been 111 attacks with 16 fatalities since 1950.

Great White Shark

This species is probably the most popular one. This is most likely due to the movie Jaws. It is also one of the most dangerous. They are often to blame for attacks on humans as they’re known to be curious and will often test their boundaries.

The great white shark is found in all major oceans around the world. They prefer colder waters near the coastline where they can hunt for their prey. They can grow to be 20 feet (6 metres) long but typically average at 15 feet (4.6 metres)

There have been 314 attacks by great white with 48 fatalities since 1950.

Shortfin Mako Shark

The shortfin mako shark is one of the fastest in the world and can swim up to 22 mph (35 km/h). They are found in all major oceans but prefer tropical and temperate waters.

They can grow to be 12 feet (3.7 metres) long but typically average at 8 feet (2.4 metres).

They are also known to be acrobatic and have been known to jump out of the water.

The shortfin mako shark is a carnivore and feeds on other fish, squid, and even their own species. They’ve been known to attack boats and humans but these incidents are rare.

There have been 27 attacks by the shortfin mako with 4 fatalities since 1950.

Bull Shark

The bull shark is one of the most aggressive in the world. Apart from the great white, it is often considered to be the most dangerous. These are found in warm waters around the globe and prefer coastal waters. 

They can grow to be 11 feet (3.4 metres) long but typically average at 7 feet (2.1 metres).

The bull species are carnivores and feed on fish, squid, and birds. They’re known to be aggressive and will attack anything that they see as a threat. This includes humans.

There have been 100 attacks by this species with 12 fatalities since 1950.

Blacktip Shark

The blacktip shark is found in warm coastal waters around the world. They prefer shallow waters near the shore where they can hunt for fish. They can grow to be 9 feet (2.7 metres) long but typically average at 6 feet (1.8 metres).

The blacktip shark is identified by its long, pointed nose and black-tipped fins. The colouring is generally grey with a white belly. The blacktip is a carnivore and feeds primarily on fish.

There have been 31 attacks by blacktip with 3 fatalities since 1950.

Towards an Enjoyable Day at the Beach

While shark attacks are rare, it is no less serious than a venomous spider bite

If you are ever attacked and bitten by a shark, it is important to stay calm, get out of the water, and seek medical attention immediately.

If you are keen on protecting yourself and your loved ones from potential attacks, it is best to learn about relevant first aid practices. Understanding the different species related to attacks and the right first aid practices takes you a step closer to enjoying your day at the beach.

Shark attacks rare, but as serious as venomous spider bite. Stay calm, exit water, seek medical aid. Learn first aid.

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