Sharks have a bad reputation for being aggressive, scary killers. In reality, however, people actually kill more sharks than sharks kill humans, according to Nick Whitney, PhD, senior scientist at the Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life at the New England Aquarium. People have better odds of dying from lightning than a shark attack, Business Insider reports. Although, if a shark does attack someone in the United States, odds are they are in a warmer location. That’s why it makes sense that the worst place in America for shark attacks is Florida.
According to statistics from the International Shark File—in partnership with the Florida Museum of Natural History—Florida’s coast is the home of more than 800 reported, confirmed, and unprovoked shark attacks since 1837. That includes three fatalities since 2001. In 2017, there were 31 unprovoked shark attacks without any deaths. Find out the animals that are even deadlier than sharks.
The states with the next highest number of instances are Hawaii, South Carolina, California, North Carolina, and Texas. Again, all of these states are in warmer areas, which sharks are attracted to, according to BBC News. Outside of the United States, five people died of shark attacks in 2017 in other warm areas including Australia, Costa Rica, Cuba, and Reunion Island. ABC News reports, however, that warm weather isn’t the only variable to consider. The bigger the coast, the more people, and the warmer the water, the more attacks. Here are the reasons sharks are so misunderstood.
The most threatening sharks to humans are those that linger in the “surf-zone.” These fish like staying near where the waves break—and where most beachgoers linger, per ABC. Some of the most dangerous shark species to humans include great whites, tiger sharks, shortfin makos, oceanic whitetip sharks, and bull sharks, according to CBS News. That said, sharks are picky eaters, and humans aren’t their first-choice entrée. To avoid shark attacks, the Florida Museum of Natural History suggests swimming in groups, staying closer to the shore, and avoiding the water at night, dusk, or dawn. Next, check out these fascinating facts about sharks.