- The likelihood of being attacked and killed by a shark are 1 in 3.75 million — less than the chances of dying by lightning strike or excessive cold.
- In the wake of two shark attacks on New York’s Fire Island on Wednesday, INSIDER has examined the data behind shark attacks in the US and around the world.
Shark attacks are one of the most notoriously feared dangers to beach-going humans — but how likely is it that you’d actually get bitten?
Despite the mass fear surrounding the deadly animals, the chances of being attacked and killed by a shark are 1 in 3.75 million, according to the International Wildlife Museum.
The chances are lower than the possibility of dying by a lightning strike, a firework accident, or excessive cold.
In the wake of two shark attacks on New York’s Fire Island on Wednesday, INSIDER has examined the data behind shark attacks in the US and around the world.
The US has had 1,400 recorded shark attacks in the last 171 years
Between 1837 and 2017, there were 1,400 recorded unprovoked shark attacks in the US, according to data obtained by the University of Florida’s International Shark Attack File.
The most common place to be attacked in the US is Florida, with 812 attacks since 1847.
Hawaii, California and South Carolina have all had between 100 and 200 attacks since the same year.
It appears that Wednesday’s attacks on Fire Island were uncommon, with only 10 attacks recorded in New York since 1847.
The two children in the Wednesday shark attacks, aged 12 and 13, were bitten in the legs and are expected to make full recoveries.
Officials are examining a tooth found lodged in one of the teen’s legs to determine what species of shark was involved.
The US had the most recorded shark attacks in 2017
Around the world, there have been more than 3,000 shark attacks recorded in the last half a century.
In 2017, the US had the most recorded shark attacks in the world with 53, but the country saw zero fatalities.
Australia, meanwhile, ranked second in most shark attacks with 14, but had one fatality.
Oceans off of Australia are known for being the habitat for deadly sharks including the Great White, Bull and Tiger sharks.
Most shark attacks occur near the shore, typically in sandbars or between sandbars were sharks can become trapped during low-tide.
In deeper areas, like spots with steep drop-offs, sharks congregate because creatures they feed on also congregate there.
Shark attacks in the US
Humans are causing more shark attacks to occur
The number of shark attacks is increasing each year as more sunbathers head to the beach.
Coastal development, tourism, and pollution are all partly to blame for an increase in shark attacks in recent years, as humans continue to interfere with sharks’ habitats.
Researchers at Bond University in Queensland, Australia found in 2016 that human interference with sharks’ habitat and the rise in climate change are causing more shark attacks worldwide, according to The Independent.
The destruction of their habitat has forced sharks closer to land, thus closer to humans, the researchers said.
“Coastal development and infrastructure can have major environmental implications on the distribution of sharks, and this can flow on to the number of unprovoked shark bites,” they said in their research.
Their research found that 84% of attacks occur in just six territories: the US, South Africa, Australia, Brazil, the Bahamas, and Reunion island.
But the shark population is ultimately in decline because of over-fishing — approximately 100 million sharks are killed every year by fisheries.
Shark attacks around the world
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