Sharks have a pretty bad reputation as the killers of the sea. One can’t deny that there have been a few times when sharks were responsible for fatalities and severe injuries. However, there’s a very important question no one seems to be asking: why do most people who get bitten by a shark live to tell the tale?

According to the National Geographic Channel, “each year there are about 50 to 70 confirmed shark attacks and 5 to 15 shark-attack fatalities around the world.” So if sharks really do carry out “attacks” on humans, yet most of their victims survive, wouldn’t that make them pretty bad killers?

Why do sharks bite?


The reason behind this is that most shark “attacks” are actually cases of mistaken identity. A shark sees something splashing at the surface (which is where the majority of incidents occur), thinks it’s food, and takes an exploratory bite. Once the shark realises it isn’t food, it lets the victim go. The problem here, of course, is that a “little exploratory bite” from a shark can result in serious damage on the much smaller human body.

With more than 400 species of sharks, there are only three species that pose a significant risk to humans: the Great White Shark, Tiger Shark and Bull (Zambezi) Shark. So, while sharks do demand a certain amount of respect, real sharks aren’t nearly as bad as Hollywood sharks.