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Debunking Misconceptions


With the popularity of Shark Week, we think it’s worthwhile reminding everyone to keep a level head as to how dangerous sharks really are.

According to Tyler Bowling, the manager of the Florida Program for Shark Research at the Florida Museum of Natural History at University of Florida, “The last calculated odds (of being attacked by a shark) are 11 or 12 million to 1,” Bowling said. “It’s really not something you need to worry about.”

According to the Florida Museum of Natural History, the state of Florida has racked up 828 recorded attacks since its tracking system began in 1837 (182 years ago).

When you compare that to the 125 million visitors who vacationed in Florida last year, combined with the state’s 21.6 million residents, it’s safe to say that the number is just a drop in the ocean.

Humans seem to have an irrational fear of sharks.  Combined with their poor treatment by the media and entertainment world, sharks overall get a bad rap.  Dr. Bowling goes on to say that most of the attacks seen in Florida have consisted of minor bites, mainly from small blacktip sharks, which frequently hunt schooled fish close to the shoreline where waters can be murky.

In fact, it’s sorta-kinda fun to consider exactly how long the odds are of getting bit by a shark.  Just a quick google search showed us that you’re actually more likely to win a Nobel Prize than you are to get attacked by a shark.

On average, there is less than one shark-attack death every two years in the United States.

Check out what’s much more likely to kill you (the number in parentheses reflects the average number of annual deaths in the U.S):

  • Falling icicles (15)
  • A blunt-force encounter with a cow (20)
  • Popping a champagne cork (24)
  • Trying to get a snack from a vending machine (36)
  • Scalding hot tap water (100)
  • Falling out of bed (450)
  • And, believe it or not, a too-close-for-comfort experience with a hippopotamus (2,900 … worldwide!)



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