Before you run screaming from the water, let’s get one thing clear: Shark attacks are incredibly rare. Far more people are injured by their toilets each year than by a hungry shark. You have a 11’n 3,700,000 chance of being killed by a shark. And for every person who dies in the jaws of one of these fearsome fish, about two millions sharks perish at the hands of humans.
But it attacks do happen-an average of 19 attacks per year in the United States (and one fatal attack every two years). Researchers believe such attacks are typically a case of mistaken identity. It sees a swimmer’s hands and feet flashing in the murk and confuses them for the scales of a tasty hsh. A surfer is a dead ringer for a sea hon or turtle when seen from below. Most shark attacks on humans are bump-andruns-a quick taste of wet suit or surfboard or skin that tells the shark it has bitten the wrong animal. A bump from a little species might result in a few stitches. Bump-andruns from great white sharks, which reach more than 20 feet (6 m) in length, can be much more serious.