Sharks mistaking toes for fish are probably behind Long Island assaults


Sand tiger sharks can develop to as much as 10 toes in size, however juveniles common 3 to five toes. These sharks have a menacing look, however aren’t recognized for unprovoked assaults on people.

Loic Venance/AFP by way of Getty Images

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Loic Venance/AFP by way of Getty Images


Sand tiger sharks can develop to as much as 10 toes in size, however juveniles common 3 to five toes. These sharks have a menacing look, however aren’t recognized for unprovoked assaults on people.

Loic Venance/AFP by way of Getty Images

A collection of 5 shark assaults in two weeks on New York’s Long Island in all probability has many beachgoers within the Northeast hesitant to wade into the water.

But the sharks aren’t focusing on people — they’re after fish.

A sand tiger shark nursery situated simply off the Long Island coast and an abundance of bait fish near shore might clarify the current string of undesirable encounters, in accordance with Florida Program for Shark Research Program Director Gavin Naylor.

The sand tiger shark is likely one of the extra menacing trying creatures lurking beneath the ocean’s floor. It can develop as much as 10 toes in size and has a set of jagged enamel protruding from its jaws.

However, so far as sharks go, this huge fish should not be trigger for alarm.

The sand tiger is a comparatively docile species of shark that desires little to nothing to do with people. Attacks are virtually all the time carried out by smaller juveniles that by accident chunk somebody whereas chasing fish.

“Off the coast of Long Island there are lots of juvenile sand tiger sharks, a lot of them, and usually we don’t have a problem with them. But as you’ve probably heard reported, a lot of the baitfish — the bunker (the menhaden) — are actually closer in this year and there’s a lot more,” Naylor stated. “… It’s a statistical fact that sharks don’t target people. If they did, we’d have about 10,000 bites a day.”

Scientists with the Wildlife Conservation Society’s New York Aquarium introduced the invention of a sand tiger shark nursery off the southern Long Island coast in 2016. Naylor stated this might clarify why encounters, such because the 5 previously two weeks, did not end in life-threatening accidents.

Adult sharks are significantly bigger and are able to delivering extra harm within the occasion of an assault, however they’re additionally extra mature, and fewer more likely to mistake a human for meals.

What to do in case you see a shark

Having stated all that, there are some extra precautions you may take to raised keep away from an undesirable encounter with sharks: do not swim between nightfall and daybreak; do not go into the water alone; keep away from flashy jewellery, which may be mistaken for fish scales; do not go in in case you’ve obtained an open wound.

If you have achieved your due diligence and nonetheless come head to head with a shark, the most effective factor you are able to do is stay calm — simpler stated than achieved. Square up with the shark and do not take your eyes off of it, Naylor stated. Move purposefully, whereas watching the shark, and again in direction of the shore.

And if the shark will get too shut for consolation — or it tries to chunk you — defend your self. Your finest guess is to punch or kick the shark within the nostril or gills.

Having stated all of that, our concern of sharks is a bit out of proportion, Naylor stated. The odds of getting bit by a shark are rather less than 1 in 4 million, according to the International Shark Attack File. In truth, you are 10 occasions extra more likely to get killed by fireworks.

“You’re probably 200 times more likely to drown in the ocean than you are to get bitten by a shark,” Naylor stated. “And I think that people aren’t that worried about drowning.”



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