Two shark attacks have occurred within two days in North Carolina this week on the Outer Banks, a popular spot for vacationers. Both victims, a 47-year-old and 18-year-old man, survived the attacks despite suffering multiple injuries. Here are 10 facts on shark attacks, including their likelihood, ways to avoid them, and what do to if attacked:
1. Swimmers should avoid wearing high-contrast clothing and shiny jewelry. According to National Geographic, sharks are attracted to colors like yellow and orange, and can mistake shiny objects for fish scales.
2. Sharks are also attracted to strong movement, so swimmers should refrain from excessive splashing.
3. Fish and turtles acting erratically can be a sign of a nearby shark.
4. Sharks most often attack individuals, so swimmers should be careful not to separate themselves too far from others.
5. Humans have a 1 in 3,700,000 chance of being attacked by a shark, and roughly 75 attacks are reported annually worldwide, according to National Geographic.
6. If a human is attacked by a shark, they will most likely only be bitten once and survive. Sharks are believed to attack humans because they mistake them for sea animals, and they usually realize their mistake after one bite. More than 80% of shark attack victims survive, according to Discovery.com.
7. The most sensitive areas on a shark are their eyes, snout, and gills, according to National Geographic, and shark attack victims should concentrate defensive moves on these areas.
8. If bitten, victims are also advised to do their best to control the bleeding and leave the water as quickly and calmly as possible to avoid a second attack, as sharks are attracted to blood and movement.
9. Even though sharks are attracted to movement, “playing dead” does not work as a defense, because sharks tend to wait for their prey to die before swallowing them. Shark attack victims are more likely to avoid further bites and survive if they either fight back or manage to swim away.
10. According to National Geographic, there have been reports of shark attack victims who do not feel being bitten at first, so swimmers should exit the water if they feel something brush up against them (even if they do not feel pain) and check for injuries.
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