A string of shark attacks in North Carolina has the great sea animals back in the news – and with them, common shark myths and shark urban legends. Individual shark attacks tend to make the news because they tap into our ancient fear of being attacked by an uncontrollable beast, and because they’re rare enough to be noteworthy when they happen. We also just have a fascination with sharks – they’re big, powerful, and pop culture tells us they’re unstoppable.
Unfortunately, shark populations are being decimated around the world. Part of this is for harvesting of their parts for quack alternative medicine cures, but a bigger part is simply that whenever there’s a cluster of attacks, people panic. Even so, shark attacks are incredibly rare, and fatalities from shark attacks are less common than people being killed by lightning or a falling vending machine.
Despite the lethal reputation of sharks, there are things you can do in the unlikely event a shark attacks you. Here are some of the most prevalent myths and facts about shark attacks, what to do, and how often they happen.