Sharks - The name itself strikes terror, even in the bravest of souls. What if I said that they are not the mindless man hunters we were all led to believe. For many years people have portrayed them as mindless killers, and they want nothing more than to find us as a food source.
In fact, humans have never been on their menu. To a shark, we are crunchy and full of undesirable bones. Sharks prefer to feed off fish and other marine life. Humans have always only ever been a case of "mistaken identity".
To a shark, humans on surfboards look identical to seals, as we have fins and a belly (flippers and the surfboard). Consider, as well, that a shark’s eyesight isn’t one of its best attributes. A shark's main sensory organs are the Ampullae of Lorenzini; which are small jelly-filled sacks along the shark's snout. These jelly-like structures, which can detect electromagnetic frequencies, (its ‘sense of smell as it were) are the shark's main tools it uses to hunt with.
Virtually unchanged for millions of years, sharks can smell a single drop of blood from across an Olympic-sized swimming pool; but given that information, it doesn't mean the shark will attack the source. It also relies on vibrations, sounds, and electromagnetic pulses. Just because it smells blood doesn't mean it will attack. It needs a variety of stimuli before initiating an attack, and even then, the shark will most often do what is called an ‘exploratory bite.’
Since sharks don't have hands to feel with, they use the receptors in their mouths to judge if something new is edible or not. Granted, their sharp teeth and the slightest bit of pressure will cause us to bleed, which, in turn, does not end well for us!
There are over 450 different species of sharks around the world. Among these species, only ten or so are considered fatal to humans, such as the Tiger shark, Bullnose Shark, and the Great White are the usual suspects that come to mind when hearing about a shark attack.
This means that only 2.2 percent are dangerous. The rest have simply inherited a bad reputation. On average, only three people die from shark attacks each year. The main reason humans are attacked is because we are in their environment. Sharks have lived for millions of years as Apex predators. This means they are at the top of the food chain in their environment. Therefore, encounters are bound to happen when humans enter their habitat.
Damyian Cook ~ (USA)