Why are people scared of Sharks?
No other creature on the planet inspires fear like that of the shark.
Very few of us ever encounter sharks and only a very small number of people have ever been attacked by Sharks, but to many people the thought of something circling in the water beneath them is terrifying and enough to stop them going anywhere near the water.
What do sharks eat? And why are we so scared of them?
Sharks have been in the seas for hundreds of millions of years. Some species of Shark have barely evolved at all during the last several million years as they reached evolutionary perfection for what they do.
There are well over 400 species of shark ranging from the humble cat fish wish wash up on shores around the World to the largest and most infamous Great Whites. It is thanks to the 1975 film Jaws that scared a generation and falsely taught that sharks hunt humans.
There’s just someting so frightening about the sight of a black fin moving across the surface of the water – this image alone makes for perfect cinematic suspense and it’s not much less scary in the real world. It’s just lucky that slow string music isn’t playing at most beaches, or nobody would sunbathe at all!
The first bars of the jaws theme tune still send shivers down the spines of film watchers 35 years later.
Sharks navigate their way around the seas by electroreception and ancient paths. Sharks are predators, some are apex predators.
The great White, tiger shark, Oceanic Whitetip and Bull sharks are all super predators which have been known to have attacked humans. Generally however, we don’t often come into contact with sharks.
Being intelligent creatures sharks are curious and will sometimes come close to humans and can act opportunistically. When humans and sharks do meet in this way it can sometimes be fatal.
It is very rare that Sharks attack humans, but when it does it makes the news media. In recent years, shark attacks in Australia have done just that – but remember, it wouldn’t be in the news if it happened every day.
People are fascinated by stories of shark attacks because they appeal to our primal instincts of fear and being powerless against such a perfectly honed predator outside of our natural environment. Movies will always make the most of this fear:
The irony is that although us humans are so scared of Sharks we are killing and destroying the habitat of sharks at an alarming rate. As with most other creatures, we are far more dangerous to them than they are to us.