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kinds of shark attacks

types of shark attacks

Shark attacks on man take far not the first line in statistical records of all water accidents involving people.

But some of such accidents indeed were placed on record. Let's find out, what tactiсs these dreadful predators usually use and why they still sometimes hunt people.


Shark Species


Usually people are attacked by those sharks which outmeasure men in size and in weight. Among them there are: grey bull shark, great white shark, bull (or cub, or Zambezi) shark, longimanus (longfinned oceanic shark), tiger (or leopard) shark.  These sharks got a huge chop filled with rows of big and sharp teeth. Such teeth help them easily bite and grind bones and gristles and tear large pieces of flesh off the body.

Other shark species, reported to attack man, are small sharks such as thrasher and nurse sharks. They have rather small teeth that can cause only small wounds and sores. But these species are also considered to be potentially dangerous.

What kinds of shark attacks are there?

Sharks are very inventive and insidious predators. Ichthyologists studying mores and habits of these marine creatures note that sharks always hunt according to the elaborate strategy. Let's look at some methods sharks usually use in attack:

1. Sudden attack. This tactic is more often used by great white sharks hunting seals or fur seals. The sense of such tactical conduct is that at first shark is drifting peacefully among these animals, apathetically passing by its potential prey. But in fact the shark is only waiting for the moment when the victim would feel easy and gets distracted. When it happens, the shark suddenly lunges at its poor prey lightning-fast, deftly dodging from it's enemy's fangs. Success of the hunt depends on the accuracy of the shark's lunge.

2. Ambush. In this case tactics is the following: a shark, hiding among the reefs or in the deep, outwatches its potential prey for hours. Its colouration is of great use for the shark in this case. For example, white sharks have darker colouration on top, which allows them to stay unnoticed at the surface for a long time. When the right moment comes, shark attacks. This tactic is the most dangerous, because for a man the threat remains unnoticed up to the very last moment and so man can't prepare for the encounter with the shark. Sometimes it happens that a swimmer doesn't even see a shark, he only feels a strong stroke and a bite.

3. Redoublement or alternate attacks. In this case a shark may be apathetically swimming nearby its potential prey for some time. But then, after changing the course abruptly, give a stroke and bite and then swim away in the same manner, lightning-fast. After some time attack is repeated. The first proving bite helps the shark to define if the prey is capable of resistance and, of course, to taste it. By doing that a shark also aims to escape the danger of being laid low by its enemy and gives its victim time to bleed out and get weak. Such attack tactic is the most typical for whitetip reef sharks and bull sharks (or Zambezi sharks).

4. Adventitious attack. Usually, if there are some irritatory agents like blood in the water, a shark can as well attack without any advance preparation and outwatching the prey for long. In this case this dreadful predator approaches its victim fast and purposefully to attack. Usually its behaviour is highly aggressive in this case. This tactic is most often used by large predators confident in their superiority. For example, by grey bull sharks. Researches showed that these predators usually gave high blood testosterone.  This male hormone is responsible for such aggressive outbursts in sharks. Sometimes bull sharks attack even boats and motor boats, trying to bite the motor or the bulge.

5. Provoked attack. Very often swimmers and divers provoke shark attack themselves. Some 'fearless' divers try to tease the shark, thus forcing it to respond.

When a swimmer or a diver appears within limits of the shark's habitat, it can also provoke the shark to act. Typically, sharks stay strictly within limits of their habitat area and have a very negative attitude towards invaders.  If a shark considers a swimmer trespassing upon its habitat to be potentially dangerous it won't attack the swimmer immediately, but firstly will show by its behaviour that this object is not welcomed. Its conduct in this case resembles greatly a nasty house-dog's behaviour, which usually shows with its posture, snarling and bared teeth that it is ready to lunge. Sharks show it by lowering down the tail when they freeze in front of the enemy piercing him with set glassy eyes. Such a posture indicates directly that invader's presence within this territory is highly undesirable.

The reasons why sharks attack people

The scientists hold on an opinion that sharks attack people with explorative, probing purposes. Like all predators sharks are very curious and the only way to satisfy their curiosity is to bite. Human flesh is absolutely not of value to sharks, because it contains too little fat which is essential to these dreadful predators. Great sharks prefer seals or turtles meat.

Despite the fact that accidents of shark attacks on people are extremely rare, basic safety rules of conduct on water shouldn't be neglected. Use common sense and sharks safety products such as Grogol Aroma. Going on an undersea journey be sure to study all the instructions beforehand in case of a dangerous encounter with the most dreadful marine predator – a shark. Remember that sharks are wild animals, and their conduct therefore can often be absolutely unpredictable.

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