The fear elicited by sharks — by the very idea of something toothy and hungry lurking beneath the surface — is primeval. But it is also, for the most part, unfounded. Sharks don’t want to eat humans

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This is a point not brought up enough. As a childhood shark [literature](https://sites.google.com/site/unsortebooks/Download-Ebook-USA-Shark-DK-Eyewitness-Books) enthusiast, I learned that the overwhelming majority of shark attacks occur due to mistaken identity and otherwise unsafe behavior. Most sharks have awful eyesight; a paddling surfer may resemble a seal and, especially if there are other factors that draw attention to the human (e.g. scent of blood, urine in the water, or the gleam of shiny jewelry), provoke a shark attack.

More to the point of sharks’ distaste for human flesh, it is extremely rare that a shark will bite a swimmer in the first place, let alone biting multiple times. Once the shark realizes that its prey is not, in fact, the desired fish or sea mammal, the shark will (depending on species and behavior) generally release and swim away. If the shark locks on, some prodding and poking (aim for the eye!) may be necessary.

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