Interesting Shark Facts

Why Do Sharks Attack Humans?

Are you afraid of large open jaws full of sharp triangular shaped teeth? Don’t be! Not all sharks are big enough to attack you, some are small size and do not have sharp teeth to tear you up! But the circumstances are not same for all the sharks’ species, some sharks attack humans as long as you reside in their vicinity!

Out of 520 species of sharks, only a dozen of sharks are known to attack humans, about 70 to100 cases of shark attack have been reported every year out of which only 5 to 15 cases were considered as lethal. Well, this is not a huge number as we are expecting from the ocean beast, the confusion is if humans are not part of sharks diet then why do they attack people? Let’s uncover the reason behind their attack of sharks on humans!

Why do sharks attack humans?

Surprisingly! 90% of shark attacks on humans are due to mistaken identity or curiosity, this depicts humans as their prey but in fact we are not! Although sharks do not feed on human’s meat, Sharks avoid humans meat even if there is a lack of food for them. Sharks are the creatures that follow their instincts, sharks are intended to hunt their prey and feed on a large proportion of food but unfortunately human flesh does not provide them with enough energy to charge up their heavy body.

Why do sharks attack humans if they are not interested in eating human meat? In many of the cases reported till date, the pattern of their attack is quite similar, sharks first bite the target (you are the victim), hang it for a few seconds and then let you go – a simple three step procedure!

There are some of the reasons which make sharks to attack on humans:

1: Mistaken Identity

Many of the attacks occur due to the mistaken identity of the humans by sharks as their prey such as shiny gadgets look like scales of the fishes from a distance.

2: Sharks Develop a Taste for Humans

Though sharks are not fond of human flesh but if by any chance they ate humans, they would develop a taste.

3: Provoking the Sharks

The most common reason behind the sharks attack on humans – Provoking! Many people provoke them just for fun but this makes sharks extremely aggressive.

4: Humans as a Menace to Sharks

Well, human activities are the major threats to sharks and they attack them out of fear and curiosity. For some reason, if sharks think of you as a threat, they will surely attack you to protect themselves.

5: Expecting Surfers as Seals

You have definitely seen in the movies or documentaries that surfers mostly wear grayish blackish suits and lie on the surfboard, they look exactly like a seal to sharks swimming towards them, this makes sharks alert and attack human foreseeing them as seals.

6: Bites for Investigation

When sharks are unable to recognize the item swimming towards them, it makes them curious, they bite the object to make sure that either it’s a prey or something else. Many sharks attack humans just to investigate whether it’s their prey or not.

7: Imagining Humans as their Competitors

If sharks found you roaming around them during their hunt time, they will imagine you as their competitors who are challenging them for the prey, they will surely attack you.

8: Protect their Homeland

How would you feel if someone broke into your house? Definitely hostile! Same thing happens to sharks – whoever enters into the territory of the sharks either other shark species or humans, they will attack them just to protect their space.

9: Out of Curiosity

As we all know that sharks are the top predators of the food chain, they roam in the ocean without any fear but attack humans while monitoring the ecosystem if something strange happens!

10: Noise and blood both attract the Sharks

Interestingly, the smell of blood distracts sharks to great extent and the bizarre sounds makes them alert! Sharks possess a very strong sense of smell and hearing, if they smell the blood or hear the noise made by humans then this leads to the attack of sharks on them.

These are some of the reasons which make sharks attack humans either intentionally or unintentionally, the risk of their attack can be minimized.

How to Escape from the Attack of Sharks?

Here are some of the tips we are sharing with you to reduce the risk of sharks to bite whenever you bump into them!

  • Don’t go swimming in a shark’s vicinity alone as there are more chances of their attack.
  • Do not roam far away from sea shores that may separate you in an emergency situation.
  • Avoid swimming in the night as many of the sharks are active in the low light.
  • Although sharks do not like human blood, it is highly recommended to not to swim if you are bleeding.
  • Avoid bright coloured or contrasting attires for swimming.
  • If you want to dive in the deep ocean with sharks – go for it but under the surveillance of the experts.

Which Species are Known to Attack Humans?

The most common species of sharks that came into limelight when it comes to the attack of sharks on humans are the Great White shark, Bull shark and Tiger shark. These 3 species are known to be extremely aggressive but do not attack humans out of anger, the reason is that many people approach the coastal areas where there is a high chance of sharks to be found!

Bottom line

Sharks attack humans out of curiosity or mistakenly recognize them as their prey, the outstanding senses help sharks to guess a change in the water waves and makes them alert about any kind of danger – thus they attack! Although there are very rare chances of sharks to attack, you may get unlucky or attacked by sharks while enjoying near the sea shore – misadventure!

About the author


I am a Scholar and a dedicated content writer. I am on a mission to stamp out the importance of one of the ocean's most fascinating and remarkable creatures, the sharks, and to let people know about their role in keeping the ecosystem in equilibrium.