11 Things We Learned from Shark Week
Go ahead and grab a box of tissues—we can’t believe Shark Week is over already either. After hours of binge-watching deep sea divers, bite cams, and surfer attacks, we’re not sure if we are now more terrified of the ocean, or if we’re itching to see a shark with our own eyes. Surfers, beach-goers, and wilderness-lovers, pay close attention to these interesting facts we learned from Shark Week, as well as some safety tips you won’t regret storing in the back of your mind.
- You can tickle sharks into a trance. If you tickle sharks in the right spot, right under their noses, they will sink into a motionless trance where you can hold them for a short bit of time. If done correctly the shark will be in total peace, and you can look it in the eyes without any hostility.
- Our fishing hobby is starving sharks. Why exactly have sudden shark bites been occurring more frequently in North Carolina? As we fish more and more, we are gradually stealing food from sharks and reducing their food supply. The sharks are biting because they are testing to see where their food is. These bites can hardly be considered “attacks,” because the sharks are simply investigating whether people are food or not.
- Humans are an even greater threat to sharks. An average of five people a year die from shark attacks, while one hundred million sharks are killed every year by humans for…wait for it…shark fin soup (Vanity Fair). In the past fifteen years, 1.5 billion sharks have been killed. Once their fins are chopped off, they are thrown back into the water to drown.
- Don’t act like prey: Sharks are not as malicious as they seem. Yes, they are dangerous, but only if you act scared like you’re prey.
- Guadalupe Island, Mexico has the clearest water: Guadalupe Island, Mexico has much clearer water than most other shark-concentrated areas, which means you can see them approaching from far away. The water surrounding the island is like a swimming pool for sharks. In other waters, you may not see a shark until it’s a few feet away.
- Sharks have a great sense of smell: Some sharks can smell a drop of blood as small as one part per million from distances as far as a quarter of a mile away (ReefQuest).
- Whale sharks are enormous: Whale sharks can be forty feet long and as heavy as 80,000 lbs (Wikipedia).
- Sharks never stop moving: If sharks stop moving they suffocate. As they move, water goes in their mouth and out their gills providing oxygen. Even stopping for a short period can cause sharks to stop breathing and drown.
- Sharks don’t like the taste of humans: Sharks will also refuse to eat food if they’ve consumed it too much. They’re picky eaters just like us!
- Hit the shark’s gills or eyes if you’re attacked: You may have heard that you’re supposed to strike a shark’s nose if you have a close encounter with one, but your hand can easily slip and hit its sharp teeth. Instead, aim for the gills and eyes which are highly sensitive.
- Wear clothes if you’re in shark territory: If you’re surfing, paddling, or on a small boat in deeper waters where sharks lurk, be sure to wear clothes. Based on historical research, sharks usually go for the unclothed person first (Discovery). They also typically go for feet first, so keep them inside the boat!
Oh, and we learned that Andy Casagrande is a badass.