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Shark Attack Facts

How Likely Are You to Be Killed by a Shark?

Photo: Underwater blacktip sharks

Photo: Underwater blacktip sharks (View larger version)

Photograph by Lydia Hicks / Aquavision TV Productions

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  • 93% of shark attacks from 1580 to 2010 worldwide were on males.

  • In 2010, North American waters had 42% of all confirmed unprovoked shark attacks worldwide (32 attacks).

  • Surfers accounted for 50.8% of all attacks in 2010.

  • Swimmers and waders accounted for 38% of all attacks in 2010.

  • Snorkelers and divers accounted for 8% of all attacks in 2010.

  • Inflatable rafts and inner tubes accounted for 3% of all attacks in 2010.

  • 2010 was the most dangerous year for unprovoked shark attacks in a decade, with 79.

  • Over the last half-century, there have been more unprovoked shark attacks in Florida (27 out of a total 139) between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. than at any other time of day.

  • New Smyrna Beach in Florida is the shark attack capital of the world according to International Shark Attack File. It is estimated that anyone who has swam there has been within 10 feet of a shark.

  • September is the month with the most shark attacks in Florida.

  • Since 1907, 201 out of 220 great white attacks have occurred when the human was less than 6 feet from the surface.

  • You have a 1 in 63 chance of dying from the flu and a 1 in 11 million chance of being killed by a shark during your lifetime.

  • Over 17,000 people die from falls each year. That’s a 1 in 218 chance over your lifetime, compared to a 1 in 11 million chance of being killed by a shark.

  • In 1996, toilets injured 43,000 Americans a year. Sharks injured 13.

  • In 1996, buckets and pails injured almost 11,000 Americans. Sharks injured 13.

  • In 1996, 2,600 Americans were injured by room fresheners. Sharks injured 13.

  • The U.S. averages just 19 shark attacks each year and one shark attack fatality every two years. Meanwhile, in the coastal states alone, lightning strikes and kills more than 37 people each year.

  • Since 1959, Florida has had more shark attacks (603) than lightning fatalities (459).

  • Since 1959, California has had more shark attacks (89) than lightning fatalities (30).

  • Since 1959, Hawaii has had 97 shark attacks but no lightning fatalities.

  • Only five people die from shark attacks yearly, while millions of people die from starvation.

  • Since 1905, Natal (where Durban is) has had 89 shark attacks and 27 fatalities.

  • For every human killed by a shark, humans kill approximately two million sharks.

  • Most shark attacks occur less than 100 feet from the shore, mainly around popular beaches in North America (especially Florida and Hawaii), Australia, and South Africa.

  • In 2008, a polar bear jaw was found in a Greenland shark's stomach.
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