excellent article from Scientific American about the much-maligned shark and how the danger of shark attack is vastly overstated. Even if you're in the water a lot, you should be afraid of boats and sandholes, not sharks.
photo credit: me. at the sydney aquarium.
full version of article here: http://scitech.blogs.cnn.com/2008/02/13/swift-boating-the-sharks/
– From 2000 to 2005, ISAF reports there were eight domestic shark attack deaths. The International Hunter Education Association reports that 385 U.S. and Canadian hunters were accidentally killed by other hunters in that same time frame.
– The New England Journal of Medicine reported that from 1990 to 2006, there were 16 deaths on American beaches caused by digging sandholes till the sand collapsed, smothering the digger. ISAF counted a dozen U.S. shark deaths in the same period. Clearly, you’d be safer in the water, with the sharks, than you are in your own sandhole.
– Florida is the most prolific state for both boating and shark attacks. Over a two-decade period, the U.S. Coast Guard reported 764 boating-accident deaths in the state. The sharks took four lives in the same years.
– A decade ago, a Consumer Product Safety Commission report tracked vending machine deaths from 1977 till 1995, thirty seven Americans were killed when they got overly aggressive, toppling a vending machine to get a reluctant quarter or cola – an average of about two per year, or twice the number killed by sharks in the US.
- Deer – the very symbol of the terrors of nature – take between 130 and 140 human lives each year – usually
just after they’re in your headlights. The CDC estimates an average of fifteen U.S. deaths per year from
snakebites. But the all-time champion animal nemesis for the human race doesn’t have a scorekeeper, and
will likely never get its own series of movies or saturation news coverage. We don’t know for certain how
many people are killed by mosquito-borne disease but the horrible toll easily reaches the millions each year.