What are sharks attracted to?
What are sharks attracted to? There are many things that sharks are attracted to.
Perhaps if you ask your best friend about sharks, you will receive an answer based on many popular movies and documentaries. People portray sharks as bloodthirsty man-eaters living in dark caves somewhere far underwater. They are just myths.
Most sharks prefer to live where they are not bothered by boats, swimmers, or divers who bump into them.
In fact, it is pretty difficult to accidentally bump into a shark while swimming, as they spend a lot of time so quiet under the surface, and we are not even aware of their presence.
The numbers on shark attacks
According to Dr. George Burgess, former director of the International Shark Attack File, ISAF, “about 150 people die due to being hit in the head by a coconut“.
And one may ask, what do coconuts have to do with sharks? And this is answered by Dr. Burguess himself, who states that “this number of coconut victims represents 15 times more than the number of people who die of causes attributable to shark bites or attacks”.
But as low as these numbers may seem, in 2020, there were 57 cases of unprovoked shark attacks and 39 cases of provoked attacks.
What are sharks attracted to? Here are 10 answers…
There are many things that could answer what are sharks attracted to, but let’s highlight some of the most widespread ideas that people have about this topic. Most of them are myths that go viral on social networks every day, others are true.
Are sharks attracted to sounds?
Yes, we can firmly say (even if you can’t see it) that sharks are “all ears.” The truth is that sharks have two small ear holes located just behind their eyes. They are small, but they can hear even from several kilometres away.
This is an essential sense for these large fish since they use it when they are searching for food. With the particularity that sharks listen to sounds at low frequencies (below 1000 Hertz).
This is of particular interest to them when sound production is erratic or intermittent, as do old seals and some types of fish.
To human beings’ worse consolation, in states of agony, weakness, or injury, moans can attract certain types of hungry sharks.
This also includes specific monitoring or communications equipment, such as video cameras, transmitters, sonars, radars, radios, or others, which could emit low frequencies and be detected and tracked by sharks, making divers easy prey.
Are sharks attracted to period blood?
No. All experiments carried out in this regard have concluded that this is a big lie.
We must remember that the composition of menstrual blood is very different from circulatory blood.
Moreover, it has always been recommended, especially to female sports or professional swimmers, to use a tampon when they are in their menstrual period.
The most crucial point here is that sharks are not fond of sniffing human menstrual blood because it is not part of their regular diet.
Sharks feed primarily on other fish, turtles, jellyfishes, and crustaceans, so their senses always recognize them.
Despite multiple unofficial reports on the Internet to the contrary, the amount of blood that could be released into the sea by a menstruating woman is minimal.
So it would be wholly diluted before a shark could smell it.
Why do sharks bite people?
One of the foremost reasons has to do with the confusion that many sharks have with people. They often believe that because of the dark clothing, divers are seals or sea lions.
They investigate humans using the same predatory techniques as they were doing to these other marine animals.
But here is the bad news for sharks (and good news for people): most humans don’t have as much body fat as seals, so they don’t taste the same and are immediately let go if attacked.
There is a mistaken belief that sharks are “living eating machines,” but the truth is that many species are cold-blooded.
In fact, they only manage to eat less than 2% of their body weight in a day. They can even go up to three months without eating.
Are sharks attracted to pee?
No, this idea originated when people started to say that sharks could smell the odours of blood, sweat, and urine for miles.
This has really turned many people upside down, and some of them even prefer not to bathe in the ocean, or if they do it and want to urinate, they hold the urge until they get to the shore.
But no. It’s really a myth. Sharks won’t get curious or go after you just for taking a leak.
Do sharks have a particular time to attack?
Yes, It’s a bit bold to say that sharks have an “attack schedule,” but they prefer to start their hunting routine at dusk, take advantage of the darkness of the night and finish off a bit at dawn.
This makes it riskier to swim, surf or dive during this period. It is recommended to do so with great caution if water activity is unavoidable.
Will it be safer if I swim near schools of fish?
No, sometimes there are schools of fish near the shore. While it’s funny and cute to take selfies underwater while surrounded by all those colourful fish, it’s not safe.
Schools are a succulent treat for sharks as they represent a substantial food source and their natural prey.
Swim alongside other humans. The more, the merrier. Do not be among fishes if it is an area known to have sharks.
Are sharks attracted to GoPro?
No, It was a very extended rumour until former NASA engineer Mark Rober, now a celebrity on YouTube, went to Bermuda’s shark-infested waters to bust that myth.
Robert attached a selfie stick with a fake GoPro while another team member used a real camera. This will let us know if the sharks want the actual GoPro or anything mounted on a stick.
Later, Rober and his team dove with 21 GoPro cameras in front of dozens of sharks. Only a couple of times, one of them nibbled on a camera but then moved on.
The experiment showed that the sharks didn’t seem to see the cameras as food but as flashy objects and nothing more.
Another busted myth to be thrown into the bin.
What colors are sharks attracted to?
For years, to improve the visualization of humans under and above seawater, the garments and equipment used have been of high-contrast colours, such as yellow, red, and bright orange.
Likewise, the use of these colours has always been recommended within safety standards and protocols so that people, boats, and other equipment can be easily recognized by rescue and salvage teams.
This helps human recognition, and also sharks that are even more capable of recognizing people swimming, surfing, or diving.
Nevertheless, the benefit of being rescued is greater than the chances of being attacked by a shark. That is why authorities do not change these colours.
Anti-shark color recommendations
- Avoid bright wetsuits and dive gear.
- Wear black or dark blue clothing.
- Wear your dive watch under the sleeve of your suit to avoid reflections.
- Do not wear jewelry or shiny clothing.
Will turbulent or wavy waters hide me from sharks?
No, Turbid or rough waters always make it difficult for sharks to identify their prey by sight and smell.
This is by no means an advantage for humans, as it reinforces the possibility of confusion for the animal.
Therefore, it will attack and lunge at the first thing that appears in its path or crosses it.
If you do not want to be a delicious part of the shark’s food chain, you better avoid getting into those waters. Not only because of the presence of sharks. The waves and the turbidity of the water constitute high-risk factors for anyone immersed in it.
Turbidity decreases the level of visibility to detect the presence of any type of shark.
Similarly, waves minimize mobility and make it difficult for people to swim and escape from a potential shark attack.
Does my location influence a shark attack?
Yes, River mouths, estuaries, and deltas have poor water conditions and are often areas with a high influx of fish. This is why it is an ideal place for sharks to find their food.
Some studies say that there is more chance of being attacked by a shark if you are on the Atlantic Ocean coast than the Pacific Ocean coast.
According to the ISAF, in 2018, there were 27 incidents involving sharks on the Atlantic side in the United States versus the Pacific coast with only 4 incidents.
Avoid moving between sandbanks or sharp depth changes, as these are favourite spots for sharks.